Advocacy & Public Awareness
Ø The role of communities as stakeholders in identifying and prioritizing problems and formulating policies that affect their lives
Ø The right-based approach to lobby for certain policies and to influence the government
Ø Developing and educating people on better ways and methods of presenting cases, defending them, and organizing to make people more effective in influencing those involved in local and/or national decision-making processes.
Ø Increasing the level of community awareness targeting the disabled, the elderly, poverty and the environment.
In the year 2000, PMRS lobbied on the local level to increase efforts in Community-Based Rehabilitation and was more involved in addressing community attitudes towards the handicapped. It assisted health centers in conducting health promotion campaigns that lobby for better health practices at the community level, conducted meetings with local councils in more than 200 localities to influence their policies regarding health conditions in these localities, and it worked to enhance the role of Youth Centers and conduct Small Community Projects.
The National Level:
On the national level, we work with various groups to influence policy decisions and to ensure proper implementation of laws. We also focus on information dissemination, coordination and cooperation among the government and civil society. Preparation and dissemination of protocols and guidelines are strong and important components to our approach, as is training and education. In 2000, we contributed to the following national committees:
Ø The National Committee for Human Resource Development and Education in Health
Ø The Preparatory board for the National Committee for promotion of Breast-feeding
Ø Women's Health Committee
Ø National Secretariat for Palestinian Children
Ø The National School Health Committee
Ø The Central National Committee for Rehabilitation
Ø The Palestinian NGO Network
Palestinian NGO Network:
PMRS helped to found the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), and continues to be an active member. We hold leading roles in four aspects of PNGO's work:
Ø Coordination and cooperation between NGOs;
Ø Capacity building of NGOs;
Ø Formulation of policies in different sectors (including health);
Ø Monitoring human rights violations though the Jerusalem Watch initiative.
A major activity of PNGO in 2000 was to develop a draft set of rules and regulations to be incorporated as part of the Palestinian NGO law. PNGO also served as a focal point for negotiations with the government on the issues related to the implementation of the article stipulated in the NGO Law on eligibility for formal registration.
The Rational Use of Drugs Policy:
In the year 2000, PMRS also worked to support the adoption of a national policy for the Rational Use of Drugs. The Rational Use of Drugs program at PMRS seeks to limit the use of unnecessary and potentially harmful drugs, train doctors and drug prescribers on appropriate drug prescription and dispensation methods, create a system of continuing education to keep medical personnel up to date on drug information, and support the adoption of a policy for the rational use of drugs.
Equal Rights for the Disabled:
PMRS supported the adoption of a law to protect the rights of the disabled to achieve equal opportunities in social life, education and employment. Its lobbying efforts targeted the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ministries of Interior and Social Affairs and disability organizations. It also continued lobbying to implement policies that prevent road accidents through its Road Safety Program, targeting the Ministry of Transport, Traffic Police Departments, Ministry of Local Governance, municipalities, insurance companies, and the media.
The National Insurance System:
PMRS signed more agreements and subcontracts with the Ministry of Health to provide quality health services to patients insured through the national health insurance system, and enhanced coordination with government ministries, international agencies and other NGOs at the district and national level through the Emergency Task Force during the Intifada for Independence.
The Regional level:
PMRS is involved in regional coordination committees in the field of disability and rehabilitation with other NGOs and governmental bodies. Coordination committees have been established in 5 regions and aim to promote coordination between government and non-government organizations working in the field of disability and rehabilitation in addition to influencing rehabilitation policies at the regional level.
In 2000, PMRS also became involved in a joint health education network that operates in seven regions. The objective of the network is to influence policies and practices of regional directorates within the Ministries of Health and Education. It further networked with women's groups to lobby on issues related to women in general and women's health in particular, and increased activities in regional NGO networks. This was particularly important during the last three months of 2000 to influence policies related to crisis management and the emergency situation. Networks at this level were instrumental in enhancing the formation of emergency committees and developing emergency plans.
PMRS is known internationally as a premiere health organization in Palestine. As such, we are involved in numerous global advocacy efforts.
The Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Regional Group of the NGO Working Group on the World Bank. In 1998, PMRS was elected to coordinate this group as well as sit as a member of the group's global steering committee. In 2000, PMRS held a successful regional meeting in Cairo with NGO representatives from over 9 countries in the region.
The purpose of the MENA Regional Group is to facilitate the dialogue between the civil society organizations and the World Bank and assure that the voices of the people and communities affected by the World Bank are heard and reflected by the Bank, and represented in its policies and operations. In addition, the group works to ensure that there are sufficient mechanisms for dialogue on the national and regional level, as well as ensuring that the voices of civil society at local and regional levels are integrated into the global processes.
The People's Health Assembly (PHA) MENA regional group. PMRS participated in the Assembly in December 2000, held in Bangladesh. The aim of the PHA is to re-establish health and equitable development as top priorities in local, national and international policy-making, with primary health care being the strategy to achieve these priorities. As a leading health organization in Palestine, PMRS played an important role in the preparations for the meeting and during the actual assembly proceedings. At the close of the Assembly, participants decided to regionalize the PHA process and PMRS was chosen to head efforts in the MENA region.
PMRS has contributed to various international conferences that shape the global development agenda such as Social Summit preparations, Children's Summit, and others.
PMRS is also contributing to the Arab NGO Network for Development as a member of the Steering Committee.
Through its directs service provision work, PMRS is in the position of collecting vast amounts of information concerning the health consequences of Occupation and of the Intifada. Because of its position, PMRS feels a responsibility to inform the international community of the developments taking place in the Palestinian territories in order to garner international support for the Palestinian people living under occupation.
As a leading health institution in Palestine, PMRS has developed over the years as both an organization committed to providing quality services for all Palestinians and an organization dedicated to cooperation, coordination, lobbying and advocacy with the aim to influence national policies and formulate better strategies to achieve Health for All. As such, we continue to build partnerships and cooperate with numerous organizations such as community groups, local and international NGOs, government ministries, coordinating committees, multi-lateral funding agencies, regional groups and international forums in order to effect policy change. We work on many levels: local, national, regional and global, through a variety of lobbying and advocacy methods.