UN medical services

The United Nations System provides basic health services to all internationally and nationally recruited staff members of the UN system and their recognized dependants in countries where local health services are found to be inadequate. The services offered at these UN facilities are supplemental to staff members' insurance benefits.

A dispensary is established when the total number of UN staff members and recognized dependants (both internationally and locally recruited) at the duty station numbers at least 200. However, exceptions may be made if the health conditions in the country constitute an emergency and the UN Medical Director agrees to recommend the establishment of a dispensary after consultation with the other Medical Directors of the UN system. At present, there are 41 dispensaries and 8 civilian clinics in field missions.

There are also medical services in headquarters and regional locations in New York, Geneva, Rome, Vienna and Paris, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Santiago, Bangkok and Beirut. The offices of the International Criminal Tribunals based in The Hague, Netherlands and Arusha, Tanzania also have their own medical services.

In countries where a UN dispensary and/or clinic exist, it provides medical assistance to its potential users within the country during specific hours to be worked out the local level. However, the physician is always on call to meet any medical emergencies outside the fixed hours.

All technical matters of the UN dispensaries and clinics are under the general supervision of the UN Medical Director in New York. All administrative matters of dispensaries are under the overall responsibility of the UN Resident Coordinator/Resident Representative and administrative matters of clinics are the responsibility of the Director of Administration/Chief Administrative Officer (DOA/CAO) of that mission. UN physicians are responsible for the day-to-day operations, which include an advisory role in recommending medical evacuations. The professional guidance of the WHO Country Representative may be requested when the need arises in the case of an emergency and until contact has been made with the UN Medical Director.

Medical staff of the UN medical facilities has up-to-date knowledge of the available local medical and dental facilities and will coordinate and/or make arrangements with local hospitals to facilitate admissions of UN staff members.

UN physicians have access to emergency security communication in case of a medical emergency. All UN medical staff is involved in activities related to HIV. For example:

  • They are offer HIV counseling and information to staff members during periodic medical exams or upon request.
  • They advise staff members and their families where they can go for voluntary confidential counseling and testing (VCCT) for HIV.
  • They participate in organized learning events, such as workshops and briefings.
  • They participate in health fairs to provide information on HIV.
  • They offer free condoms as part of travel kits or provide condoms to anyone who needs them.
  • They participate on UN teams and committees as full members to design and implement programmes on HIV in the UN workplace.

If you have a UN dispensary at your duty station, please enquire about the programmes offered concerning HIV in the UN workplace.

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