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World Health Organization (WHO)
5 August 2004
Health Action in Crises
Issue 32: June 2004
WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP
UNRWA and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation held a two-day conference (7-8 June) addressing the humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees. UNRWA, the host country, and delegates from over 91 countries committed themselves to continuing support to the four million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.
OCHA stated in the CAP 2004 Mid-Year Review that although assistance provided under the CAP 2004 framework has helped compensate for Palestinians' inability to access basic services, the cumulative effects of closures and long-term unemployment appear to be exhausting coping mechanisms. Acute humanitarian needs are prevalent among certain communities, notably those living in the south of the Gaza Strip and around the Barrier.
WHO held district-level meetings on 3 and 17 June as follow-up to the Rafah emergency situation. The health situation is improving, but the problem of sewage water contamination in UNRWA’s transit centres persists.
WHO and MoH revised the Local Aid Coordination Committee thematic groups established in 2002—mental health, nutrition, health information and reproductive health—and provided recommendations for their improvement. As a result, the nutrition group held a meeting on 16 June during which WHO was nominated as Technical Advisor, new terms of reference for the group were devised, and a revision of the current funded nutrition projects commenced.
A six-day Health Sector Review workshop was held in Cyprus (30 May – 5 June) with the participation of Palestinian MoH, Italian Cooperation, European Commission, DFID, World Bank and WHO. Health financing, health performance, health status/outcome, governance and health service delivery were the main topics discussed.
A final draft of the Operational Policy for the MoH-run Community Mental Health (CMH) Centres was completed and was distributed to the relevant WHO staff and MoHMH professionals for final feedback.
The in-service training plan for MoH community mental health professionals was finalised with the UK services with which the Palestinian CMH services are now twinned.
WHO and MoH held several meetings to initiate the first family association for families of the mentally ill in Bethlehem and Ramallah Districts. The objective of these meeting was to introduce family members to the concept and functions of such associations, and to form smaller groups that will meet regularly in the future. One-hundred-and-eighty persons participated.
WHO is taking to preliminary steps to commence the project “Strengthening Nutrition Management in the occupied Palestinian territory”, which has been made possible through funding from USAID.
Eighteen shipments were sent by WHO/EMRO containing lab equipment and drug supplies for West Bank and Gaza hospitals. An additional 21 shipments were cleared for UNICEF's measles vaccination campaign, which started 28 June.
On 17 June, WHO and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel visited Al Ram (a West Bank village at the outskirts of Jerusalem), where the Separation Barrier will be constructed in the near future.
WHO organized the visit of four children and one adult to Lyon as part of the European Palestinian and Israeli Cities for Health and Social Partnership project. The objective was to strengthen the link between the Children Municipal Councils of Jericho and Lyon and to plan a public awareness project on environmental health and water-related themes.