Israeli occupation is the West Bank’s and Gaza defining feature, for all sectors, including health. Occupation imposes access restrictions not only to health services, but also to international markets. It has negative effects on economic growth and employment.*
*Towards Family Health Care in Palestine, WHO; April 2017
Palestine faces the evolving health challenges of the 21st century - an ageing population and spiralling rates of non-communicable diseases and mental health problems
Rapidly increasing costs of specialist hospital services are a major drain on scarce financial resource
Palestine’s existing primary health care service has achieved remarkably good results. However it is not well placed to deal with the new challenges and urgently requires reform
The internationally recognised family medicine/practice approach provides continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, person and family-centred care, with a multidisciplinary team responsible for delivery of services to a defined population.
Professor Saleem Haj-Yahia, cardiothoracic surgeon, CEO and Dean Emeritus An-Najah National University
The Palestine Ministry of Health is committed to implement transformation, recognising that moving toward the new model requires changes at many levels.
The organisation and infrastructure of health services need changing
New specialist family physicians need to be trained
Existing primary care staff need to be retrained towards the family practice principles and the modified service delivery model.
An Najah National University delivers a four-year, post-graduate residency programme for family medicine specialists – the only one in Palestine.
More than 20 graduates have completed the programme to become certified specialists and at any time there are usually 15-20 residents at different stages of their four-year training programme
At the heart of the project are two Ministry of Health family medicine training centres, where family medicine residents learn most practical skills. Situated in the middle and south of the West Bank. A third is being developed by An Najah Teaching Hospital.
The residents need highly skilled trainers, who in turn need support in acquiring skills and expertise for training and supervision. The Foundation for Family Medicine in Palestine is working hard to support all these developments