United Nations Relief and Works Agency

Countries hosting Palestinian refugees are among those with the highest prevalence of diabetes, at about 11%. By 2030, the prevalence in the region will rise 163-194% for people under age 65. UNRWA’s clinical audit found that risk factors for diabetes are extremely high among its refugee population; 90% of diabetics are either overweight or obese.

With funding from the World Diabetes Foundation, low-income Palestinian refugees residing in Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza and Syria (when possible) will soon have access to the Microclinic Program. Refugees who where living in Syria and have fled to Jordan and Lebanon will also be served. The Microclinic Program is based on the assumption that diabetic individuals in the Middle East influence, and are influenced by, the way their network of family members and friends eat, exercise, monitor their disease, and adhere to medication regimes. Thus the Microclinic Program focuses on these key areas and assists community members in making sustainable lifestyle changes that can spread to their friends and family.

The main objectives of this regional project are:

  1. To increase the care capacity of UNRWA health personnel (nearly 1,000 nurses) to deliver diabetes management programs.
  2. To provide technical assistance to UNRWA’s 115 health centers so the Microclinic Program can be implemented and sustained long-term, as an integral part of UNRWA health services.
  3. To launch a program recruitment campaign targeting 1 million refugees and economically disadvantaged individuals to raise awareness about diabetes and the Microclinic Program.

The overall result of this project will be that UNRWA will have a sustainable and evidence-based diabetes management and prevention program running throughout its 115 health centers, which serve approximately 5 million refugees throughout the Middle East.

Project Partners: UNRWA, World Diabetes Foundation

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