Occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) - Development of Rehabilitation Services


  • In theory the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) has the lead responsibility for ensuring an integrated package of care for persons with disability (PWD) and their families in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. However, despite the presence of very favourable legislation, implementation is poor.
  • In terms of rehabilitation there are no specialist services provided by the government or UNRWA: services are found only in the NGO and private sectors.
  • Rehabilitation services are not available within the existing network of primary health care centres.
  • Training institutes for rehabilitation workers (physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists) do exist within the oPt, but the courses provide little practical experience for trainees.
  • Many agencies are registered with the MoSA as providing rehabilitation services for PWD in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In reality, very few provide a sustained, credible level of service.
  • The absolute lack of service provision for PWD and their families is further compounded by the extremely limited coordination and integration of available services: leading to greater inequity in terms of accessing those services.
  • A major 2011 survey in the oPt reported that, largely as a result of failing to enter or complete formal education, 91% of PWD aged 15yrs and over were unemployed; very few PWD have ever been offered any form of vocational training; and although existing legislation requires 5% of public employees to be PWD, it has not been enforced due to financial constraints and a lack of appropriately qualified PWD.
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i). Livelihood support project for persons with disability, West Bank - completed December 2014

This project, funded by Interpal and IDEALS, began in the north of the West Bank in December 2013. Together with our local partner, Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), we successfully improved the social integration and financial independence of 18 PWD through the provision of: vocational training (hairdressing and wheelchair/scooter maintenance); training in the management of a small business; and start-up grants to establish their own small businesses. This was an exciting and innovative project, one which we hope to replicate elsewhere in the region in the future.

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