Dr. Osama Al-Haj Ali, Medical Officer at UNRWA’s Main Baqa’a Health Centre in Jordan during a medical consultation to a patient. © 2020 UNRWA Photo by George Awwad
This week, the Department of Health at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced the integration of the latest revision of the disease classification system ICD (International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems) into its e-health system, upgrading it from ICD-10 to ICD-11.
ICD is the international standard for systematic recording, reporting, analysis, interpretation and comparison of mortality and morbidity data. Currently, ICD is in the custody of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO target is to have the current ICD replaced by ICD-11 on 1 January 2022 by all countries.
UNRWA said in a statement dating October 8 that this upgraded classification system will be available to the more than three million Palestine refugees who are served at UNRWA health clinics throughout the Agency’s five fields of operation every year.
The Director of the UNRWA Department of Health, Dr. Akihiro Seita, said: “Today, we celebrate this achievement with our World Health Organization (WHO) partners. We will share our experiences in this journey to build the Agency’s healthcare infrastructure. UNRWA was proactive in choosing to update to the ICD-11 system, ahead of the WHO target implementation date of January 2022. This upgrade was made possible by UNRWA health staff in close coordination with WHO.”
This innovation follows in an extensive line of service development, including the UNRWA Family Health Team approach, which groups a family under the care of a single medical team, the e-Health system, a paperless records tool and the Mother and Child Health (MCH) mobile application, used by Palestine refugee mothers pre and postpartum. To date, nearly all UNRWA medical doctors have completed the associated ICD-11 online certification course in time for its roll out on 12 September 2020.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.6 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall.