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Saudi-funded UNRWA health centre inaugurated in Aqaba

By JT - Feb 01,2021 - Last updated at Feb 01,2021

Saudi Ambassador to Jordan Naif Bin Bandar Al Sudairi and Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan Marta Lorenzo inaugurate the newly constructed Saudi-funded UNRWA health centre on Sunday (Photo courtesy of UNRWA)

AMMAN — Saudi Ambassador to Jordan Naif Bin Bandar Al Sudairi and Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan Marta Lorenzo on Sunday inaugurated the newly constructed Saudi-funded UNRWA health centre.

The new health centre was constructed, furnished and equipped thanks to a $1 million donation received from Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), replacing the old, rented health centre and was designed to facilitate access of persons with disabilities, according to a UNRWA statement.

The government of Jordan provided the land assigned for the construction of the health centre through the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority. 

In line with the agency’s efforts to minimise the environmental impact of its own operations, the centre features an environmentally friendly solar system to generate electricity and heat water. 

Trees and greenery cover the premises and there is a sun-shade.  Furthermore, the building was designed to be earthquake resistant. Operationally, the Aqaba health centre will apply the innovative family health team approach, e-health and the digital Queuing Management System (QMS), the statement said.

Speaking at the ceremony, Sudairi said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a pioneer in humanitarian work, with the aim of alleviating human suffering from various affected people around the world, and is keen to harness its capabilities and resources in the service of humanitarian issues in cooperation with the United Nations and its agencies and international community organisations.” 

“On top of that is what the kingdom is doing in devoting its capabilities to support the Palestinian cause in various fields, including the historical cooperation relationship with UNRWA, continuous support for its services and appreciation of its role towards supporting Palestine refugees,” the ambassador said, adding that this health project comes within the same context.

He noted that Saudi Arabia is one of the first countries to support the agency, as it is the second largest donor, and that the Kingdom “will spare no effort in serving the Palestine brothers and their just cause”.

As part of the ceremony, the ambassador, Director General of the Department of Palestinian Affairs Rafiq Khirfan and notables from Aqaba took a tour inside the health centre where they met with UNRWA health staff and beneficiaries to get their feedback on the services provided.

“On behalf of UNRWA, I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the generous contribution and partnership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with UNRWA and their continuous support to Palestine refugees. The reconstruction of this health centre is a critical investment which will serve nearly 10,000 Palestine refugees in Aqaba city,” said Lorenzo.

“Primary health services must continue to address health, preventive and curative needs of Palestine refugee, particularly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” she continued.

The ceremony was attended by Director General of the Department of Palestinian Affairs Rafiq Khirfan, and on behalf of Aqaba Governor Mohammed Rafaia, the administrator of the Aqaba District, Faisal Almasayeed, and media representatives covering the event.

In 2020, the Aqaba health centre provided services to over 1,600 children below the age of five and 159 pregnant women.  Family planning services were extended to 446 Palestine refugees. There were nearly 1,000 medical consultations per month and 350 monthly dental consultations, the statement said.

In Jordan, UNRWA delivers health services to Palestine refugees through a network of 25 health centres and four mobile clinics, located inside and within the vicinity of Palestine refugee camps and throughout the Kingdom.  Over one million patients visit UNRWA health facilities annually.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the top donors to UNRWA, having contributed over $1 billion since the start of its donor partnership with the agency.


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