World Health Organization (WHO)


US gives $2.5m for Syrian Refugees in Iraq

The World Health Organization (WHO) extends its gratitude to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM) for the generous contribution of US$ 2.5 million to increase the health security and resilience of Syrian refugees living in Iraq.

In 2018, Iraq continued to host Syrian refugees. It is estimated that about 250,000 Syrian refugees are currently residing in the three governorates of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) namely Erbil, Dahuk, and Sulaymaniyah, the majority of which (64%) lives with the hosting communities.

“There is an urgent need to support the local health authorities in KRI to ensure that Syrian refugees here have access to proper health services,” said Dr. Adham R. Ismail, Acting WHO Representative in Iraq. “Providing comprehensive primary, secondary, referral, and outbreak prevention and response services in the three refugee governorates is a WHO priority for the coming phase; it will indirectly improve the resilience of the refugees and host communities against potential public health emergencies,” he added.

Syrian refugees in Iraq have been given free access to primary health care services whether through camp-based primary health care centers ((PHCC) for refugees living in camps or public health facilities specified for those living with the host communities.

These services have been provided by the directorates of health of Erbil, Dohuk, and Suleimaniya in collaboration with WHO and health partners. However, the mass internal displacement of over 3.3 million Iraqis in 2014 had stretched the capacity of the national health authorities and humanitarian partners to continue meeting the needs of refugees and respond to the inflated demand for health care intervention.

As of 2018, WHO has been active in filling the gaps in essential medicines and medical supplies and equipment, improving referral services, and supporting surveillance and water quality monitoring activities in the refugee camp and non-camp settings. According to the 2017 national health reports, the said DOHs have provided a total of 264,611 consultations to Syrian refugees residing in KRG of Iraq.

The contribution of US$ 2.5 million from the U.S. BPRM will support the provision of comprehensive primary health care and referral services for around 300,000 Syrian refugees and host communities in KRI. It will also support the healthcare services for the disabled and mentally ill patients in the three mentioned governorates through a comprehensive training program for the national professionals working in the mental health area.

The contribution will also cover the procurement and distribution of essential medicines, and medical supplies and equipment to selected health facilities serving the refugees in target governorates.

(Source: UN)

WHO provides Urgent Support for Victims of Flooding

The World Health Organization (WHO) has conducted an urgent needs-assessment mission to Qayyarah’s Jadaa internally displaced person (IDP) camps in Ninewa governorate to assess the health situation of the population affected by the heavy rain which caused flash flooding in a number of IDP camps in the governorate.

Tens of thousands of families have lost all their belongings and are reported to be in dire need of food, drinking water, medicine, and hygiene kits.

A slight increase in the number of upper respiratory tract infection cases were reported in the visited camps and health partners there were notified to monitor the situation and immediately report any change in communicable disease trends through the WHO Early Warning Alert and Response Network (EWARN).

“WHO is working closely with partners and local health authorities to manage the emergency and meet the urgent health and sanitation needs of thousands of families hit by the flash floods in Ninewa and Salah al-Din governorates,” said Dr Adham Rashad, Acting WHO Representative in Iraq. “The situation requires a collective humanitarian effort and a quick reaction to minimize risks and contain the damage,” he added.

A shipment of blankets has been delivered to IDP camps in the district of Qayyarah and medical supplies, kits, and ambulances are on the way for deployment to badly affected areas in the affected governorates.

As of 23 November, heavy rain has hit the country causing flash floods that have led to the damage of property, livestock, and infrastructure in Ninewa, Salah Eldin and the southern governorates of Missan, Wasit and Basrah. A number of bridges, roads, and villages were inundated and more than 10 000 people in Salah Eldin and 15 000 people in Ninewa governorates are in urgent need of assistance, including thousands of families living in IDP camps.

WHO remains ready to support the Ministry of Health and local health authorities to address the impact of the floods and reduce the suffering of the vulnerable populations in the IDP camps and other under-recovery areas in Ninewa and Salah al-Din governorates.

(Source: UN)

Water Contamination caused Death of Fish in S. Iraq

WHO and Ministry of Health investigate the massive death of fish in southern governorates of Iraq

Laboratory tests conducted on water samples in the reference lab in Amman, Jordan on the cause of death of freshwater fish in the Euphrates River in Iraq have revealed the contamination of water with high content of coliforms, heavy metals, and high concentration of ammonia.

Health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Environment in Iraq say that while these materials are toxic to fish, they pose no health threat to humans.

Testing on dead fish has revealed serious issues that warranted WHO to conduct a second investigation related to probable viral infection of fish causing the death of thousands in the river. Results of the second test are due next week.

The laboratory investigations came in response to a request to WHO by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment to assess the likely effects of the fish death on humans and the environment.

As early as 2 November this year, thousands of tonnes of fish have died in the Euphrates River causing significant loss to fish farms and production in the southern part of Iraq especially in Babel province, 85 kilometers south of Baghdad.

WHO continues to work with its MOH counterparts to develop appropriate preventive measures to effectively mitigate and respond to future incidents of this nature.

(Source: UN)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

EU provides Healthcare for Vulnerable Communities

The European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) has provided an additional € 4.5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to maintain health security and resilience for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities in conflict-affected governorates of Iraq.

This comes on top of the €29.2 million already contributed by the commission since 2015.

This renewed support will be used to sustain health services more than 500 000 vulnerable people in hard to reach and newly accessible areas of Ninewa and Anbar for the coming 12 months and to ensure vigilance for diseases with a potential of causing outbreaks.

The funds will also support to provide necessary essential medicines and medical supplies as well as facilitate referral services for returnees who have limited access to primary healthcare, secondary rehabilitative and referral health services.

ECHO Head of Office in Iraq, Simon Mansfield said:

“ECHO is keen to continue this support of the provision of medical humanitarian assistance in Iraq. Access to essential medical services for displaced populations and assistance for victims of war injuries remain ECHO’s priorities in country. In 2018, ECHO maintains this strategic partnership with WHO”.

WHO’s Representative in Iraq, Altaf Musani said:

“We welcome this additional contribution from our long term partner, ECHO. This contribution will support WHO and health partners to ensure uninterrupted access to essential and rehabilitative health care services for at least 500,000 IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host communities in the country’s most conflict-affected governorates”.

This partnership between ECHO and WHO represents a strong commitment in improving the health of the people of Iraq.

(Source: WHO)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

New Career Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

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)

Mobile Health Teams reach People in Newly Liberated Areas

For more than 3 years, the people of Hawiija [Hawijah] district in Kirkuk governorate, were cut off from lifesaving health care and immunization services, leaving many children susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases. “For years, I worried that my children may contract polio and measles or die,” said Hadija, a 32-year-old mother of 3.

In September 2017, the district became accessible following military operations launched by the Government of Iraq. WHO, together with Kirkuk Directorate of Health, immediately deployed mobile medical teams to provide immunization services, and health care for people suffering from trauma injuries or chronic disease conditions.

Five mobile medical teams were deployed to Khan, Tal Ali, Abbassi, Masanaa, Al Zab and Ryadh areas. Since then, from mid-September to 15 November 2017, more than 10000 people in Hawiija district have benefited from WHO’s support, including 1563 children vaccinated against childhood immunizable diseases.

Although these newly accessible areas are still security compromised, WHO saw an urgency in delivering health care to thousands of people that had been cut off from aid for years, and whose health was being compromised day by day. Five main health facilities have been partially or completely damaged, in addition to Hawija general hospital. Currently, only the Kirkuk Directorate of Health and WHO-supported frontline health teams are delivering immunization services in these areas.