Reports & Researches

How were the health services affected by the economic crisis that afflicted Lebanon?


If the annual hospitalization budget is $12 million, why does UNRWA contribute 50-60% and pay 30% of it in dollars and the rest at the exchange rate for 1515 L.L?

Why not provide health monitors on its work?


Curtailing measures on services of the agency

UNRWA sustains primary health, maternal and child care for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, yet it has been influenced by the alleged financial crisis. Such effect was manifested through the following:

·        An evident decline in the number of staff, doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and others.

·        A significant scarcity in chronic diseases medications and replacing them by other substitutes which often don’t suit certain patients who are then forced to buy them on their own expenses.

How were the health services affected by the economic crisis that afflicted Lebanon?

·        Absence of private hospitals for UNRWA, and instead making contracts with many Lebanese private and public hospitals in order to provide hospitalization services, surgeries, treatment of cancer patients and various epidemics, and others.

·        Due to the economic crisis in Lebanon, hospitalization expenses increased after the Lebanese government has lifted the financial support on most medicines and medical supplies, in addition to the increase in price of fuel consumed by hospitals.

·        The high expenses of surgeries and cancer patients, and of medical supplies, such as platinum skewers for bone fractures and the installation of joints and others, have rendered most of the Palestinian refugees unable to cover the differences in hospital bills.

What is the nature of contracts between UNRWA and private hospitals in light of the crisis?

*     UNRWA’s annual budget for hospitalization in Lebanon is $12 million allocated to cover fully the expenses of medication.


*     UNRWA pays salaries to its contracted employees in all sectors in US dollars.

*     As for the health services sector, the annual contracts that the UNRWA made with most hospitals cover between 50 and 60% of the costs of hospitalization for patients, and it pays only 30% of the cost of these contracts in fresh dollar.

The remaining costs are supplemented according to the official dollar exchange rate in Lebanon (1515 Lebanese pounds), though it is an international institution, and all of its resources are in US dollars.


Explicit exploitation of Palestinian patients in private hospitals with the absence of censorship

UNRWA's unclear contracting policy with private hospitals makes the latter take advantage of Palestinian patients who are transferred to, in terms of the following:

·        Forcing people to pay extra expenses in the pretext of holding them responsibility for the patient’s health condition if they didn’t.

·        Additional financial burdens on patients for the use of medicines that are neither on the lists of the Lebanese Ministry of Health nor approved by the World Health Organization. UNRWA only pays 30% of its costs, in addition to its contribution of only 30% and a maximum value of only $500 of the cost of medical supplies.

·        The lack of adequate health monitors from the Health Department, to follow up the services provided to the patient, and to ensure hospitals' commitment to implementing the terms of these contracts.

·        Exploitation of UNRWA's financial resources while exaggerating in the services provided (which may be unrealistic) and thus inflating the bills, which put the patient on heavy financial burdens.

·        UNRWA refuses to cover 50% of the costs of medicine brought from outside Lebanon, as many patients had to do so and thus extra financial charges.

As for this reality, the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) calls for UNRWA to set a lucid hospitalization policy that encompasses the following:

1.      The UNRWA’s adherence to disburse the amount allocated to the health sector without additional burdens that are to be paid by the Palestinian refugees.

2.      Issuance of a health guide showing the services that must be provided and the right of the Palestinian patient to hospitals.

3.      Assign health monitors sufficiently for all areas of the hospitals contracted with UNRWA.

4.      Activating the process of communication between health supervisors in the regions with patients and institutions specialized in this regard.



Beirut in 3/6/2022

Palestinian Association for Human Rights