Thanks to generous contributions to a campaign organized by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), based in São Paulo, Brazil, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has received US$ 54,000 and will be able to implement its E-health system in 3 more of its 21 health centres in Gaza.
On 13 May 2014, HE Paulo França, Ambassador of Brazil to Palestine, Robert Turner, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza and Dr. Akihiro Seita, UNRWA Director of Health, attended a ceremony to initiate the implementation of the E-health system at Ma’an Health Centre in the southern Gaza Strip.
Mr. Turner welcomed Ambassador França and thanked CCAB and the Brazilian people for the continued support they have shown towards Palestine refugees and UNRWA. Mr. Turner said: “We are very grateful for this donation, which enabled the Agency to purchase and install 60 computers in three health centres in Gaza.” The Brazilian contribution will improve the quality of service that the Agency provides to over 90,000 Palestine refugees.
At the implementation ceremony, the Brazilian Ambassador said: "The contribution of the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce to UNRWA may be modest in numbers but is meaningful and representative of the strong ties of solidarity and friendship that Brazil as a whole, State and civil society, has with Palestine. Brazil hopes that this contribution can assist in bringing a better and more efficient health service to the people in Gaza."
Dr. Seita emphasized the importance of the E-health system, which was first introduced in Gaza in May 2012. He said: “The E-health system will reduce paperwork and health-staff workload and subsequently will improve the quality of health services. It will also decrease the patient’s waiting time, increase the doctor-patient contact time and improve the accuracy and reliability of statistical information.”
CCAB has become an important partner of UNRWA in Brazil. Its fundraising campaign for UNRWA health activities in Gaza was held in São Paulo from September to December 2013, an initiative marking the beginning of what UNRWA hopes will be a long-standing partnership with the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and the Arab community in Brazil.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 68 million.
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