MAP calls on UK Government to reverse aid cuts to Palestinian healthcare

MAP is deeply concerned by the UK Government’s decision to cut its aid funding to Palestinian health and education workers in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and unprecedented pressures on the Palestinian healthcare system.

The UK’s financial support, previously provided through the European Union’s PEGASE mechanism, helped pay the salaries of tens of thousands of Palestinian public servants including doctors and teachers. At a time of significant pressures on the Palestinian health system, a deepening wellbeing crisis among exhausted and over-burdened healthcare workers, and ongoing attacks on Palestinian education, the UK’s decision to cut funding could have severe consequences for essential services.

“By going ahead with these cuts, the UK is turning its back on Palestine’s essential workers, which could have dire consequences for the rest of the population,” said Aisha Mansour, MAP’s West Bank Director. “We call on the UK Government to urgently reverse these cuts and restore its support to our shattered and fragmented healthcare system.”

In 2019, the UK contributed £20m to the salaries of more than 37,800 critical frontline health and education professionals in the West Bank, and enabled 5,058 immunisations against measles, mumps and rubella and 139,445 medical consultations. This aid was described by an internal UK Government review last year as a “crucial provision of basic services for the oPt [occupied Palestinian territory], especially given the current financial and health crises.”

The decision comes amid the UK government’s reduction in overseas development assistance spending from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income in 2021-2022. Overall UK aid to the occupied Palestinian territory is estimated to be reduced by 66% compared to the previous year.

Palestinian public services are currently badly stretched by the “unprecedented financial crisis” facing the Palestinian Authority, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and pervasive settler violence and excessive use of force by the Israeli military against Palestinian protesters in the West Bank. International support to the frontline health response therefore remains urgently needed.

MAP urges the UK to resume financial assistance for health and education sector salaries, and to provide technical, economic, and humanitarian assistance to support the sustainable development of the broader Palestinian healthcare system.

Take action to to demand the UK restores aid to Palestinian healthcare.

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