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


05 August 2016

In cooperation with Al-Azhar University, UNRWA Health Programme in Gaza organized a graduation ceremony for the graduates of the Family Medicine Diploma Programme, generously funded by Al-Walid Bin Talal Foundation.

The graduation ceremony, which was held at Dr. Hani Al-Shawwa Hall in Al-Azhar University, celebrated the Family Medicine Diploma programme, implemented in cooperation between Rila Institute of Health Sciences and Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

Mr. Bo Shack, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, with Dr. Ram Dhilon, Head of Rila Institute, Professor Abdel Khaliq Al-Farra, Chairman of Al-Azhar University, Dr. Akhihiro Seita, Director of UNRWA Health Programme, and Dr. Ghada Al Jadba, Head of UNRWA Health Programme in Gaza, were guest speakers during the graduation ceremony which also included a short film on the Family Medicine Diploma and concluded with the distribution of certificates to the 15 UNRWA medical officers who completed the one year diploma programme.

Mr. Bo Shack in his speech thanked Al-Walid Bin Talal Foundation for its generous support which made this Family Medicine diploma possible, and confirmed the commitment by UNRWA to improving health conditions in Gaza .“The 15 graduating UNRWA doctors are a valuable investment and people in Gaza will benefit from their skills,” he said.

Dr. Ram Dhilon said: “It is a patient-centred programme, and the patients will feel the change in the doctors’ performance.”

Since July 2015, the 15 medical officers were engaged in online lectures followed by extensive workshops and practical training sessions in UNRWA Health Centres under the supervision of four instructors nominated by Al-Azhar University. The medical officers were selected based on merit and had to pass an entrance examination under the supervision of Rila Institute.

The Family Medicine Diploma aims to enhance the practical and clinical skills of UNRWA medical officers so that are better equipped to contribute to the UNRWA Health Programme goal of “Palestine Refugees’ health is protected and the disease burden is reduced.” This goal is consistent with the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015-2030, specifically, Goal 3: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.


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$ 74 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, protection 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

Najwa Sheikh Ahmad
Acting Public Information Officer - Gaza Field Office
+972 597 920 542
+972 8 2887 488

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