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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
29 January 2016


28 January 2016

UNRWA provides antenatal care services including a comprehensive initial physical examination and regular follow-up checks, including the screening for pregnancy-related hypertension, diabetes mellitus, anemia and oral health issues in each of its 21 Health Centres across the Gaza Strip.

Through these antenatal services, UNRWA encourages pregnant women to receive their first antenatal assessment as early as possible to promote early detection and management of risk factors and complications.

An internal research conducted by UNRWA Khan Younis Health Centre in southern Gaza indicated that roughly 35 per cent of the pregnant women in the Khan Younis area do not register their pregnancy in the early stages. For this reason, in late October 2015, the Health Centre launched an initiative titled “I support early registration of pregnancy”. The initiative aims at increasing the percentage of refugee women who register for antenatal care services in UNRWA Health Centres during the first three month of their pregnancy.

“During my first two pregnancies, I did not register for antenatal care at an UNRWA Health Centre, but now due to the outreach campaign of the UNRWA staff I registered and participated in their awareness sessions; I now understand the importance of early registration,” commented 25-year old Nihaya Al Qidra.

To reach out to the widest audience possible, the UNWRA Health Centre in Khan Younis designed and distributed information material such as posters and brochures on the importance of early registration and offered special awareness sessions for women visiting the Health Centre. All the staff in the Health Centre actively participated in the outreach campaign, including doctors, nurses, midwives as well as the cleaning staff who usually play an important role in guiding patients to the relevant stations and using this as opportunity to raise further awareness.

According to Health Centre staff, the campaign has proven successful and the rate of early registrations has already increased by approximately 6 per cent over the past three months.


UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

Milina Shahin
Public Information Officer - Gaza Field Office
+972 599 609 485
+972 8 2887213

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