Palestinian Ministry of Health, with U.S. Assistance, Defines Essential Services for Health Care Centers and Clinics

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jericho, West Bank — The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced the release of its Essential Package of Services for Primary Health Care Centers and Clinics at an event held in Jericho today.  The Essential Package of Services details standards for health service delivery to be used by the Ministry for comprehensive planning in the reform and development process, and includes active participation of citizens, service providers and planning administrations.  The Package was developed by the Ministry with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Palestinian Health Sector Reform and Development Project.

Dr. Hani Abdeen, Minister of Primary, and Michael Harvey, USAID Director for the West Bank and Gaza Mission, attended the launching ceremony, a two-day workshop for Ministry of Health Primary Health Care Directors to discuss the contents of the Essential Package of Services and develop strategies for its implementation across the West Bank. Mr. Harvey stated at the ceremony, “Today marks the launch of another critical reform effort by the Ministry of Health.  The Essential Package of Primary Health Care Services is an international best practice adopted and developed by the Ministry with the support of USAID’s Palestinian Health Sector Reform and Development Project.” 

Through the Essential Package of Services, the Ministry of Health has clearly defined the distribution, role and function of the various levels of Ministry of Health primary health care centers.  The Essential Package outlines the resources required for primary health care centers to provide quality services, and has defined the organizational structure and management of the primary health care system, including lines of responsibility and accountability, support and supervision, and processes for two-way referral between service levels.  The package also describes the recommended routine data to be captured by primary health care clinics to enable appropriate monitoring and evidence-based evaluation of community health status, and the needed service delivery interventions.  The Essential Package of Services was developed in line with the priorities of the Palestinian National Health Strategy (2011-2013), particularly those strategic priorities under the quality control program. The Package is also directly linked to the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan.

Dr. Asad Ramlawi, Director General of Primary Health Care, explained, “This package can be used as an educational resource for all new doctors, administrators, nurses, technicians and other providers joining the Ministry’s Primary Health Care system.  Moreover, this package can be used to familiarize other [non-Ministry] health service providers on what services are offered by the Ministry of Health Primary Health Care centers.  Furthermore, the package can serve as a guide for policy makers, donors and other international organizations, and will constitute a standard for quality control and lead policy makers to define budgets strategically in order to improve the sector.”

USAID’s Palestinian Health Sector Reform and Development Project supports the Palestinian Ministry of Health to strengthen its institutional capacity to sustain a functional and democratic Palestinian health sector that is able to meet its priority public health needs.  In addition, the project supports select non-governmental organizations like Augusta Victoria Hospital in providing services that complement the Ministry’s reform and development agenda to improve quality, sustainability and equity within the health sector.

Since 1994, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, has provided more than $3.5 billion in U.S. economic assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. USAID coordinates closely with the Palestinian Authority to support projects designed to reduce poverty, improve health and education, implement infrastructure and water projects, create jobs, and promote democracy and good governance.