Healthcare


Investments in Health can contribute to Peace Dividends

In the lead-up to the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on the international community to further invest in Iraq’s devastated health sector.

In Anbar, Ninewa, Salah Al Din, and Kirkuk, 14 hospitals and more than 170 health facilities were damaged or destroyed in the three-year conflict. Water and power systems that health facilities depend on to function also need urgent repair.

Beyond physical damage, the crisis caused unimaginable mental distress for millions of people, left tens of thousands of Iraqis with severe physical injuries, disrupted the routine vaccination of millions of children, decreased reproductive health services to girls and women of child-bearing age, halted the supply of essential medicines and medical equipment, and interrupted the medical education for hundreds of thousands of aspiring medical workers.

“More than 2.4 million Iraqis are still displaced and need direct health care, and more than 3.3 million Iraqis who have returned home have gone back to areas where the health system needs to be almost entirely rebuilt,” said Altaf Musani, WHO Representative in Iraq. “Across the country, millions of Iraqis are in the process of rebuilding their shattered lives and WHO is keen on supporting the governmental health authorities to provide them with appropriate and dignified health care services.”

WHO has worked with health partners to support the Government of Iraq in providing emergency health services and strengthening the health care system to ensure vulnerable persons have access to quality health care. In 2017, partners including various departments of health provided over 6 million medical consultations across Iraq.

This was made possible by establishing and supporting at least 29 static health clinics in displacement camps and outreach through more than 64 mobile medical clinics. Notably, life-saving emergency health services were provided to more than 24,000 people through five field hospitals close to the front-lines in Mosul, Hawija and Al-Qaim.

To protect current humanitarian gains as well as reduce vulnerabilities, further investments in health are urgently needed. Support to rebuild health systems, provision of life saving medicines and upgrading medical technologies will ensure a responsive health care system.

WHO and health partners are appealing for firm commitments to Iraq’s health care system which will enable peaceful, dignified and safe returns as well as revitalization of new accessible areas.

(Source: UNAMI)

UNICEF needs $17m to Rebuild Health Facilities for Children

Warning about the “alarming” state of Iraq’s healthcare system, especially in war-ravaged areas in and around Mosul, the United Nations children’s agency has stepped up its support to help the Government provide critical medical services so that children and families affected by violence and displacement can resume their lives.

With less than 10 per cent of health facilities in Iraq’s Ninewah governorate functioning at full capacity, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that as many as 750,000 children in the governorate are struggling to access basic health services although violence has subsided. Those facilities that are operational are stretched to the breaking point.

“The state of Iraq’s healthcare system is alarming,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, who has just completed a visit to the largest hospital in Mosul.

“For pregnant women, newborn babies, and children, preventable and treatable conditions can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death,” he said, warning that medical facilities are strained beyond capacity and there are critical shortages of life-saving medicines.

Three years of intense violence have devastated health facilities in Iraq. Over 60 health facilities have repeatedly come under attack since the escalation of violence in 2014, severely disrupting access to basic health services for children and families.

In Mosul, UNICEF has rehabilitated the pediatric and nutritional wards of two hospital centres, provided refrigerators to store vaccines for up to 250,000 children, and supported vaccination campaigns to immunize all children under five years old. Most health centres in the governorate have also re-started vaccination services for children.

UNICEF says the Reconstruction Conference for Iraq hosted by Kuwait next week is a unique opportunity for the Iraqi Government and the international community to put children at the heart of reconstruction, including through increased budget allocations to services for children.

Mr. Hawkins said what he saw in the hospitals in Mosul was both “heartbreaking and inspiring,” explaining that the ingenuity and dedication of health workers who are committed to giving newborn children the best possible start in life in the most challenging of circumstances is remarkable.

“They too deserve support so that they can continue to save lives,” he said.

UNICEF is appealing for $17 million to support rebuilding health facilities for children in Iraq in 2018.

(Source: UN)

From Tears to Joy — Run for Children like Noor

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) has announced the roster of Honorary Co-Chairs for the May 5, 2018, IN THEIR SHOES 5K to benefit Iraq’s most vulnerable children:

  • His Excellency Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States
  • Ambassador Ryan Crocker (Ret.), Former US Ambassador to Iraq and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Lt. General Jeffrey S. Buchanan, Commander, US Army North (Fifth Army), Served four tours in Iraq
  • Cynthia Ozbat and Elijah Ozbat, Gold Star Mother and brother of Cpt. Jesse Ozbat, served in Iraq, killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan
  • Zainab Salbi, Award winning humanitarian, media host, and author

And ICF welcomes back our 5K stars:  the three “Young Ambassadors” who are true testaments to the strength and resilience of Iraqi children.  Teeba was severely burned in a car bombing in Baghdad as a little girl.  Ala’a was abandoned in Iraq as a little boy with cerebral palsy.  And Humoody was shot in the face by terrorists and blinded.  Who better to represent the children of Iraq at this event?

THIS IS WHY WE RUN…

for children like Noor

Ten-year old Noor lives in poverty with her mother and little brother in a house of mud and sheet metal.   She enjoys going regularly to the Hope Bus for tutoring and a nutritious lunch, but she also works collecting empty cans from landfills to support her family.

Recently, Noor came to the bus, sobbing and saying her mother was about to die. Staff immediately went to check and discovered her mother had suffered a heart attack but didn’t have money to go to a doctor or buy medicine. They took her to a hospital, and Noor and her brother went to stay with a relative.  After several days, the mother was ready to go home and today, Noor is back in class at the Hope Bus!

Incoming ICF Chairman Mohammed Khudairi Khudairi said:

I am pleased and honored to have the opportunity to give back to the children of Iraq as the new Chairman of the Iraqi Children Foundation. As a young man spending summers in Iraq, I interacted with many underprivileged children who lived in dire conditions and those children became some of my best friends. I cherish those relationships to this day. 

“As an American and businessman, this cause is dear to my heart and I call on all our friends in the Iraqi-American community, business community, veterans, and Gold Star families to join us May 5 to run/walk ‘in their shoes’ for these vulnerable children.

(Source: ICF)

Children in Iraq Impacted by Conflict and Poverty

At least one in four children in Iraq impacted by conflict and poverty

At the upcoming Kuwait conference, UNICEF calls for immediate and massive additional investment in education; a key for lasting peace and progress in Iraq

Statement by UNICEF Regional Director, Geert Cappelaere, following his visit to Iraq:

“Iraq today hosts one of UNICEF’s largest operations in the world, responding with humanitarian and development assistance to the needs of the most vulnerable girls and boys across the country.

“More than 4 million children have been impacted by extreme violence in several areas including in Ninewa and al-Anbar. Last year alone, 270 children were killed. Many were robbed of their childhood, forced to fight on the frontlines. Some will bear the physical and psychological scars for life due to exposure to unprecedented brutality. Over 1 million children were forced to leave their homes.

“While the fighting has come to an end in several areas, spikes of violence continue in others. Just this week, three bombings went off in Baghdad. Violence is not only killing and maiming children; it is destroying schools, hospitals, homes and roads. It is tearing apart the diverse social fabric and the culture of tolerance that hold communities together.

“In the northern city of Mosul, a place that witnessed unspeakable destruction, I met children who were hit hard by three years of violence. In one of the schools that UNICEF recently rehabilitated in the western parts of Mosul, I joined 12-year-old Noor in class. She told me how her family stayed in the city even during the peak of the fighting. She spoke of her fear when she was taking shelter. She lost three years of schooling and is now working hard to catch up, learning English with other boys and girls.

“Mankind may have proven once again in Mosul and other parts of Iraq its massive power to destroy and destruct. But another much stronger power left a deeper impression: the determination to rebuild and get on with life. Children were so excited speaking of their aspirations, sharing their happiness of being able to play and study again.

NIC Announces 157 Major Strategic Projects in Iraq

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has just announced the list of major strategic projects to be presented during the Kuwait International Conference for Iraq Reconstruction, to be held in Kuwait from 12th to 14th February.

The 157 large- and medium-sized projects span all sectors of the Iraqi economy, including oil and gas, transport, housing, agriculture and education.

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)

AMAR Completes work at Bazwaya Health Centre

The AMAR International Charitable Foundation has announced that work on its new Bazwaya Primary Health Care Centre near Mosul is now complete.

The clinic is now fully equipped and locally-hired medical staff have been assigned to support a range of units providing vaccinations, ultrasound, a gynaecology department, dental services, maternal and child care, a malnutrition unit, a GP service and a laboratory.

The project is the fifth AMAR clinic to open inside an IDP camp in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

(Source: AMAR)

Can Baghdad contain Diseases in Liberated Areas?

By Hassan al-Shanoun for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Can Baghdad contain diseases in areas liberated from IS?

An epidemic of skin diseases has plagued areas of Iraq that were under the control of the Islamic State (IS). Abdul Sattar Liwas, director of health in Al-Anbar province, said on Dec. 12 that liberated areas in the province have become contaminated with pesticides that are used to halt the spread of cutaneous leishmaniasis and other diseases.

The lack of health care, the scarcity of medicines and the tragic health conditions have all contributed to the spread of skin diseases, including what has become known among the people as Baghdad buttons, similar to Jericho buttons, which is a form of leishmaniasis caused by a parasite. No matter what people call it, this disease remains painful and sometimes very dangerous.

People can become infected with the parasite if they are bitten by a type of female mosquito called a sand bug — a small, silent bug that only flies in the dark.

According to Dr. Faris al-Azzawi, director of health in Diyala province, the health staff in the province “has recently recorded over 200 cases of Baghdad buttons.”

Azzawi told Al-Monitor over the phone, “The symptoms of the disease have been increasing in the past few months, as a result of environmental pollution and water pollution, displacement and lack of medicine.”

“Not only is this disease widespread in Dilaya, but in most Iraqi cities, and it is currently transitioning [from one area to another],” he said, adding, “My department has already started providing various treatments for the disease, and medical teams have been deployed to cure the infections and raise awareness around the province about the dangers of Baghdad buttons.”

Mohammed Deifan al-Obeidi, the head of Diyala’s provincial council, said Al-Azim district in Diyala province, 60 kilometers north of Baquba, has registered an unprecedented spread of this disease, especially among children, while 50 cases were reported in the span of only a few days in Al-Bo Hanihan refugee camp in the outskirts of the district.

Plastic Surgery in Iraq “Dangerously Unregulated”

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

From a quick visit to the local barber shop for laser hair removal to a trip to Lebanon for liposuction, Iraqis from all walks of life are turning to cosmetic surgery.

An annual report issued by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery places Iraqis as the top nationality receiving plastic surgery in Lebanon. According to the report, 0.3% of cosmetic operations of 2016 were carried out in Lebanon.

In Iraq, however, those who perform unlicensed cosmetic operations will find it difficult to give stem cell injections and laser treatments in the future. The Ministry of Health is shutting down unlicensed beauty salons and massage parlors in Baghdad, according to a report by Al-Hurrah News. The report said that more than 52 salons in Baghdad were closed on Nov. 17, when the Ministry of Health began the operation.

The unauthorized salons are a response to the growing demand from Iraqis of all social classes, not just the rich, for cosmetic surgery.

The editor of the All Beauty Guide website, which evaluates Baghdad’s beauty salons, told Al-Monitor, “Hundreds of beauty salons have spread in Baghdad and other provinces over the past couple of years.” The editor, who asked not to be named, also pointed out, “Iraq has become a cheap and convenient destination for plastic surgery, with many patients coming from neighboring countries.”

According to the Tajmeeli website, which provides information on cosmetic procedures, tummy tucks are very common in Iraq and carried out by qualified specialists starting at $750 per operation, a price affordable for middle-class families.

Investment Opportunities: Imam Sadiq Hospital and Najaf Hospital

The Ministry of Health/Environment and the National Investment Commission (NIC) in coordination with Babil Governorate and Najaf Governorate are pleased to announce the investment opportunity of {Operating, managing and sustaining} of Imam Sadiq Hospital in Babil  and Najaf Hospital in Najaf according to investment law no. (13) for the year 2006, as amended.

Investors, companies and specialized sides are invited to submit their offers (commercial and technical offers providing that they include their vision of improving the medical services and scaling up performance on servicing and training the staff according to the standards approved by the Ministry of health with attaching the feasibility study knowing that all the above mentioned points shall be taken into consideration in evaluating the submitted offers) to the Contracts Section in the Ministry of Health and the National Investment Commission within (60) days from the date of publishing the announcement.

For any further information or fixing a date to visit the hospitals, please contact the following numbers:

  • 07822668818/ Dr. Nawras – DG – Ministry of health
  • 07823527029/ Dr. Adel –Manager of Imam Sadiq hospital
  • Or to send email to : healthit.2017@gmail.com
  • Please visit the Contracts section in the Ministry of Health to receive the investment profile

(Source: National Investment Commission)

Germany supports WFP Assistance to Conflict-Affected Iraqis

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of €4.4 million (US$5.2 million) from the Government of Germany, which will provide cash-based assistance to almost a quarter of a million Iraqis for one month.

Dr. Cyrill Nunn (pictured), Germany’s Ambassador to Iraq, said:

The German Government greatly appreciates its strong and effective partnership with WFP in Iraq.

“WFP plays a critical role in providing life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people in this country. With this additional contribution to WFP’s Emergency Operation, we reconfirm our commitment to those who are in desperate situations – they will not be forgotten.”

This contribution will allow WFP to increase the scale and reach of cash-based transfers through WFP’s food assistance management system, known as SCOPE. This allows vulnerable Iraqis to buy nutritious foods of their choice from local shops.

Every month, families are notified by text message that their electronic credit allocation of around €15 euros (US$17) per family member has been reloaded. Using a WFP SCOPE card, they can withdraw cash from a local money transfer agency or pay for food in designated stores.

Sally Haydock, WFP Representative and Country Director in Iraq, said:

We’re grateful to the German Government for its contribution to assist Iraqis still affected by conflict.

“By giving cash assistance to families, we are giving them a broader choice in what they buy while helping strengthen the local food market.

Since 2014, Germany has contributed €104 million (US$122 million) to WFP’s operations in Iraq. These funds have enabled WFP to provide nutritious food to the most vulnerable Iraqis and Syrian refugees every month.

(Source: WFP)