The Women’s Health Center,
founded in 1995, is a therapeutic, consulting, educational, and sport center,
located in Bureij Camp. Managed by a dedicated team of professionals trained in
the psychological, social, legal, and reproductive health fields, the WHC
embraces a holistic approach to women’s health through the provision of a range
of high quality integrated services and programs. These are designed to
help build healthy families, physically, psychologically and socially, and
healthy communities, in which women play an active and influential role in
building a Palestinian society characterized by gender justice, equality and
The WHC is open from 8:00 am
to 3:00 pm, 5 days a week and hosts a fully-equipped health clinic, laboratory
facilities, and recreation room. The WHC runs a health clinic with education,
preventative and curative health services for women at all stages in the life
cycle and ongoing programs in sports and physiotherapy, psychosocial
and legal counseling, and community education.
Some 3,500 women made use
of WHC services in 2014.
Highlights in 2014
350 people participated in a conference regarding the impact of “Operation Cast
Lead” on health, psychological, economic, culture and legal rights violations.
The conference was organized in collaboration with the Palestinian Red Crescent
Society and Wissal network . Representatives of universities, NGOs, community
leaders and youth leaders engaged in the discussions and adopted a series of
The WHC embraces an integrated and
holistic approach to women’s health involving both preventative and curative
healthcare services along with health education. The basic assumption
underlying our approach is that health comes from the harmony of physical,
psychological and spiritual well-being. Woman’s health and well-being are not
limited to her "reproductive" role as a wife and a mother; rather,
WHC engages in the promotion of women’s health throughout the life cycle from
childhood through adolescence to menopause and beyond. All WHC activities
involve a combination of individual and group consultation, community-based
workshops, home-visits and formal training courses.
All WHC services and activities are
rooted in our commitment to the following fundamental principles:
Quality of care is
assured through our commitment to ensuring that supportive, caring
communication, personalized assistance and responsiveness to specific needs of
each client, informed choice and consent, respect and confidentiality are the
basis of all health provider-client relations. Every WHC health provider draws
on appropriate technology and specialized skills in accordance with
internationally accepted standards.
Continuity of care is a
WHC priority not only during pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery, but
throughout the women’s life cycle. The WHC approach further seeks an
alternative to the pathogenic medical model in which the health worker
exercises power over patients and overlooks the environmental, behavioural and
emotional aspects of health. By contrast, WHC’s commitment to continuity of
care involves recognising each person’s right to know and decide about their
health and health care, remaining responsive to the multi-dimensional nature of
health and the specific needs of individual clients, and ensuring ongoing
development of our services based on what we learn through our own practice as
well as advancements in the health practices more generally.
WHC strives to integrate
service provision not only amongst in-house specialists and service providers
but with external service providers. Over the years, the WHC has established
effective linkages with a wide range of institutions engaged in health policy
and service provision including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social
Affairs, UN agencies and local and international non-governmental organisations
- Community participation and
The WHCs’ services are
characterized by a proactive approach. WHCs staff is mobile across the target
areas, to ensure the involvement of the population and facilitate their
participation, adapting visit and meetings to women’s needs and schedule.
services and programs are rooted in the communities it serves. WHC has
developed a participatory approach to health involving the CFTA and the WHC
staff, the Red Crescent Society, community leaders, grass-roots organisations
and local authorities. This approach has elicited a very positive response from
women and men in the refugee camp. Since the creation of the WHC, special
attention has been paid to avoid open confrontation with the predominant
traditional values of the Palestinian family; instead, WHC emphasizes its
commitment women's health and correspondingly, the welfare of the family.
Women's empowerment and the
advancement of women’s status is pursued through the provision of both services
and practical opportunities; all WHC activities are designed to ensure women’s
full access to information, build awareness, knowledge and self-esteem and
promote women’s self-determination throughout the life cycle.
The exclusively female team
of health providers encourages women to make use of the WHC services. They find
it easier to discuss their problems with other women and are generally more
comfortable in the women-led, women-friendly environment.
At the same time, CFTA experience
has demonstrated the critical importance of involving men from the community in
WHC activities. Thus, WHC’s community outreach and training focuses on group
discussions for adolescents, women and men. Since 2000, each WHC has a
socio-psychological male counsellor who organizes outreach activities and
workshops for men and boys. Counselling for men and couples is also offered in
order to support men’s positive engagement in sexual and reproductive health
issues and promote better understanding between couples.
Special efforts have also
been made to schedule the Centre’s opening hours and activities according to
the needs of the population and staff, recognizing the different needs and
preferences of females and males, as well as that of different age groups.
The WHC recognizes GBV as a
public health issue and a serious impediment to women’s human rights and
women’s RH and rights.