UN agency paints grim health scenario of possible cut-off of funds to Palestinians

Palestinian man sits in his wheelchair in front of his house in the Al Azza refugee camp in the West Bank town of Bethlehem March 30, 2006. (MaanImages/Magnus Johansson)

The Palestinian public health system faces a rapid decline towards possible collapse, with limited or no access to preventive and curative services for nearly half the population, particularly the poor, in the event of a cut-off in donations and an Israeli suspension of tax transfers, according to the United Nations health agency.

Control and management of the public health system would shift away from the public sector to non-government organization (NGOs), UN agencies system and the private sector under the scenario developed by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

Analyzing the consequences of a cut-off after the election victory of Hamas, WHO said the public health system would suffer acute financial crisis.

Salaries would not be paid to some staff, medicines and other equipment would be in short supply, and the health ministry would be paralyzed or less capable of developing policy, regulatory and coordination related functions, the agency said.

The funding issue was addressed by the diplomatic Quartet dealing with the Middle East situation – the UN, United States, Russia and the EU – in a statement issued on 30 January. The Quartet said it was “inevitable that future assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors against that government’s commitment to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap” outline peace plan.

Related Links

  • Possible consequences on the health sector due to the reduction of support to the public services (PDF) World Health Organization (6 April 2006)
  • BY TOPIC: Health