Palestinian Health Capacity Project

While the West Bank has the benefit of an educated, sufficiently staffed health workforce, its population suffers from the many conditions that accompany poverty, age, stress, and conflict.

The health sector’s commitment to providing care for all citizens—including those who need complex care for cancer or heart disease—has led to a drastic increase in referrals from primary care providers to specialists. Over the past 13 years, the number has jumped from 8,000 per year to 62,000. And almost half are directed to service providers outside the West Bank, mostly in Israel.

Not only are these referrals expensive—the cost of referrals to Israeli hospitals doubled in the last year—but they also raise significant hurdles for clients who must secure approvals and permits to access the health care services they need.

IntraHealth partners with the Palestinian Ministry of Health to better control the costly referrals of clients to specialists outside the Palestinian health sector. We also work together to ensure that members of the West Bank’s health workforce have the training and information they need to meet the population’s diverse needs.

Selected initiatives

  • Build the Ministry of Health’s capacity to use data to inform health workforce planning and to establish systems to control referrals, including by educating clients on their rights and referral policies and by building relationships between the ministry and accredited service providers.
  • Improve governance structures throughout the ministry to improve evidence-based decision-making as well as health workforce planning and management.
  • Develop and improve curricula for adult critical care nursing programs to better prepare Palestinian nursing educators and their students to care for clients with complex medical needs.
  • Improve pre-service and in-service education for the West Bank’s health workers, especially in revising curricula to reflect international standards in teaching and learning.
  • Develop and implement mechanisms for licensing and certifying health workers.

Selected Achievements

Reduced the total cost of referrals from West Bank health facilities to Israeli hospitals by 34% by partnering with the Palestinian Ministry of Health to revamp referral policies.
Developed a health referrals web-based application to provide a secure interface between the Ministry of Health in the West Bank and referral institutions.
Helped the Ministry of Health update referral protocols and polices based on best practices and a rapid assessment of health services capacity in the West Bank.
Established resource centers in three key hospitals in the West Bank and trained facilitators there in advanced search techniques, including HINARI, and in using Moodle to deliver online courses.
Palestinian Ministry of Health saved 427,000 NIS ($122,120) by independently implementing its health information system in Tubas Turkish Hospital. The system also results in savings in the pharmaceutical department due to improved medication tracking.
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