Spanish FM visits Jordan, renews support to UNRWA during COVID-19 pandemic


The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union (EU) and Cooperation of Spain, H.E Ms. Arancha González Laya, paid a landmark visit to a health center and the school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Nuzha area located north of Amman, Jordan.

H.E Laya received an on-site briefing about the situation of Palestine refugees in Jordan and the response of UNRWA during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was accompanied by the Spanish Ambassador to Jordan, H.E Aránzazu Bañón Dávalos, Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, H.E. Mr. Magdy Esteban Martínez Solimán, UNRWA Commissioner-General, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Ms. Marta Lorenzo.

The Commissioner-General briefed the Minister of Foreign Affairs about the Agency’s health and education programs and services provided to refugees. He described the way UNRWA switched its operations to be able to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, continue all its services, and protect its staff and beneficiaries.

“Supporting Palestine refugees and UNRWA has always been a priority for Spain, said the foreign minister. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the most vulnerable communities call for increased solidarity. Instead of allowing inequalities to grow, Spain is committed to supporting multilateral action that can maintain the access of Palestine refugees to services.”

The Nuzha health center provides primary health care to nearly 53,000 people and covers a wide range of services, such as maternal and child health care, treatment of chronic diseases, as well as mental and psychosocial care. Because of COVID-19, the UNRWA Department of Health adopted a new method of delivering health services to refugees by delivering non-communicable diseases to refugees’ doorstep during the full lockdowns, activating hotlines to respond to beneficiaries’ inquiries, creating a triage room for beneficiaries who are having any coronavirus symptoms in order to protect other refugees from being infected.

The Agency uses a telemedicine service tool to provide quality and timely health-care services while avoiding unnecessary visits to health centers, thus contributing to preventing the crowding in the health-care facilities.

During her visit to Nuzha Elementary Girls’ School, Ms. Laya received a briefing about the UNRWA education program, learned more about the procedures followed inside the schools, and looked over the system being tracked in regards to the distance learning for UNRWA students, especially in light of the rapid increase in coronavirus cases and the closure of several UNRWA schools in the Kingdom.

“I salute Spain for being a consistent donor and supporter to UNRWA, both nationally and at the level of provinces,” said Mr. Lazzarini. “Such long-term solid commitment gives hope to Palestine refugees in the midst of regional and global changes.”

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