School of Public Health
Effects of UNRWA financial crisis on Palestinian women refugees’ health services
Over 3.1 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, and Gaza receive health services from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). UNRWA is currently facing extreme challenges, including the eight-year conflict in Syria, increased violence in Gaza, and the protracted displacement of refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. In particular, there has been a “double displacement” of over 46,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria into Lebanon and Jordan. Approximately 95% of these refugees need of sustained humanitarian assistance from UNRWA. In addition to this difficult context, the 2018 announcement that the U.S., previously UNRWA's largest donor, will no longer fund UNRWA is causing an unprecedented funding crisis that could threaten its services.
This study aims to assess changes in accessibility of health services in Lebanon and Jordan from the perspective of Palestinian refugees. It will build upon a mixed-methods study that consisted of key informant interviews of senior UNWRA staff and the examination of health indicators. This qualitative research study will collect data through focus groups and a series of in-depth interviews with Palestinian refugees receiving UNRWA services in multiple locations in Lebanon and Jordan, with a particular emphasis on capturing the perspectives of Palestinian women, who are the primary recipients of UNRWA health services and have specific reproductive and maternal health needs. This will contribute to research around which health services - primary, secondary, tertiary, and/ or specific women’s health services - may be affected by UNRWA funding cuts.
Advisor/Mentor: Dr. Paul Spiegel