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Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
17 August 2015

Under the Auspices of His Excellency Prime Minister Al Hamdallah Tulkarem Hospital Opens
New Maternity Ward with Funds from the Government of Japan through UNDP

Prime Minister Al Hamdallah visiting the new maternity ward with Minister of Health,
Ambassador of Japan for Palestinian Affairs,UNICEF and UNDP Representatives

East Jerusalem, 17 August 2015 – In the presence of H.E. Prime Minister Dr Rami Al Hamdallah, UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People inaugurated, with the Ministry of Health, the Government of Japan and UNICEF, a new maternity ward at Dr Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarem, north of the West Bank.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Prime Minister Al Hamdallah emphasized the importance of improving public health facilities as an integral part of the state building process. “This project enhances the ability of Palestinian state institutions to respond to the urgent needs of its citizens and quality services,” he added.

The Thabet Thabet Hospital represents an important pillar for the city of Tulkarem and the surrounding villages; as it provides essential health services and specialty care for over 200,000 people.

H.E. Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador of Japan for Palestinian Affairs, highlighted that Japan’s support to Thabet Thabet hospital included the equipping and furnishing of the new building and providing advanced equipment through the Ministry of Health. He also reiterated his government’s commitment to supporting vital sectors in the State of Palestine and improving the livelihoods of the Palestinian population.

The project is part of the Emergency Medical Relief Initiative (EMRI), implemented by UNDP, with funds from the Government of Japan. The initiative aims at improving the well being of Palestinians in vulnerable communities like Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqiliya and other targeted locations through increased coverage of secondary and tertiary health care services.

“This year, Tulkarem hospital has joined the Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative, which helps promote exclusive breastfeeding in maternities,” said UNICEF Special Representative June Kunugi. “The eleven incubators and three isolation units will help improve the survival of premature babies in the northern West Bank, while increasing the number of mothers and new-borns the hospital can treat,” she added.

The new ward is the third phase of construction at the hospital, bringing the total contribution from the Government of Japan, through UNDP, to approximately USD 8 million. The works included the construction of an additional third floor with a total area of 2,185 square meters. The new floor will increase the bed capacity of the existing hospital by 41 beds in addition to an incubator hall. It will house a new paediatric ward, maternity ward, post delivery ward, three delivery rooms and one operating theatre.

The first two phases of the project comprised the building of the basement and ground floor of the new hospital. The old Tulkarem Hospital was also renovated in order to accommodate the operating theatre, pharmacy, and outpatient clinics.

“The new ward is a testament to our joint partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Government of Japan and UNICEF to improve the Palestinian population’s access to quality health services,” said Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator. “Today, this modern facility has over 150 beds. We hope that the project will ease the shortage of hospital beds available in the northern region, and reduce the number of referrals,” he added.

The inauguration ceremony was held at Thabet Thabet Hospital in Tulkarem on Monday, 17 August 2015 in the presence of H.E. Prime Minister Dr Rami Al Hamdallah, Governor of Tulkarem, Issam Abu Baker, Minister of Health, H.E. Dr Jawad Awad, H.E. Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador of Japan for Palestinian Affairs, UNICEF Special Representative June Kunugi, and UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Roberto Valent.

It is worth noting that infant mortality rates currently reach 19 per 1,000 live births in the State of Palestine, with two-thirds of deaths occurring during the neonatal period, i.e. within 28 days after birth. In addition, according to the Ministry of Health, the ratio of beds per people was 13.1 beds per 10,000 in 2014; 12.6 beds in the West Bank and 13.8 beds in the Gaza Strip.

Contact Information

Dania Darwish, Communications Specialist, Tel. +972-2-6268229 – e-mail: For more information on UNDP/PAPP see

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