Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip who rely on health services from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will soon benefit from much-needed medical equipment thanks to a generous contribution from the International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO).
The IICO contribution of more than US$ 500,000 will provide maternal and child health-care equipment, including ultrasound machines, echo-dopplers and fetal heart detectors to the Agency’s 22 health-care centres operating in the Gaza Strip. The contribution comes as the Agency struggles to fulfil its mandate to provide critical services amidst a historic funding shortfall that has left 5.7 million Palestine refugees at risk.
UNRWA health-care centres in the Gaza Strip register some four million patient consultations each year. The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with 14-years of stifling blockade, has devastated the local economy, fuelling a 49 per cent unemployment rate as of the third quarter of 2020, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
UNRWA has delivered effective and reliable humanitarian support to Palestine refugees for 70 years. The Agency’s services include free health care and education, food and cash assistance and microcredit loans to 5.7 million Palestine refugees facing extreme hardship in Jordan, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Last month, the Agency announced its ongoing and historic funding shortfall could jeopardize its ability to provide critical relief and development services in all five fields of operation.
The IICO is an independent, multi-faceted charity that provides funding to support strategic and sustainable development projects worldwide. The organization, based in Kuwait, aims to alleviate the devastating impact of poverty, disease, illiteracy and unemployment in underprivileged communities across the globe.