In a press conference on 27 November, Egypt’s health and population ministry (MoHP) announced its collaboration with UNICEF to further provide Syrian refugees in 16 governorates of the country with primary health care.
The initiative is titled Integrating Psychological Support Services in Primary Health Care Units (PHUs.)
The governorates include Cairo, Giza, Sharqiya, Alexandria, Damietta, Monofeya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Qalyubiya, Red Sea, Matrouh, Port Said, Aswan, Gharbeya , Daqahliya, Ismailia and Beheira.
Health Minister Dr. Ahmed Emad said that the ministry is looking forward to the initiative enhancing the role of PHUs through integrating social services for Egyptians, Syrian and non-Syrian refugees through family clubs.
He clarified that family clubs play a key role in providing psychological support through offering life skills for adolescents and recreational activities for children, aiming through these activities to lift some of the hardships that refugees have endured.
Family clubs will also raise awareness among visitors in regards to the importance and guidelines of positive parenting and protecting children from all forms of violence.
The clubs will also work on identifying cases of children that need specialised interventions and directing them to the appropriate mechanism, such as the Child Helpline, Family Counseling Helpline, or Child Protection Committees.
Bruno Maes, UNICEF’s representative in Egypt, stressed that the partnership with the Egyptian MoHP is highly valued in regards to the response to the refugee situation and protection of children on the move.
"Through the contribution of various donors supporting education, health and child protection programmes, such as the government of Japan, and the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM), UNICEF is able to support the Egyptian government's capacity to host refugees and to continue to provide them with services despite the current economic challenges," he said.
The current programme adopted by the MoHP focuses on rehabilitation and capacity as well as the building of 102 PHUs in 16 governorates.
In 40 PHUs, efforts will include provision of resources, medical equipment, and the training of a medical team and social members.
200 Syrian female community workers received training to spread awareness on key health messages in their communities and encourage access to the essential healthcare services.
The initiative also aims to upgrade eight Obstetric Health Care Units and Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
The UNHCR website stated that as of October 2016, the number of registered Syrian refugees nationwide was 115, 204, of which 50,690 are children.
With the continuation of the Syrian crisis, refugees will expectedly face increasing economic hardships and growing dependence on free access to basic services such as education and healthcare provided by the Egyptian government.