Enhanced Access to Primary Health Services in Anbar

Japan and UNOPS Enhanced Access to Primary Health Services in Anbar Governorate

With the continued support from the Government of Japan, UNOPS handed over Al Adel Primary Health Center in Anbar, along with other six primary health centers in Al Ramadi, which were rehabilitated under the "Restoration of Access to Urgent Primary Health Services in Anbar Governorate" project.

In addition to the rehabilitation works, the project procured 25 pieces of medical equipment, 248 pieces of furniture, and more than 2000 supplies.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Dr. Wisam Salah, Deputy Director of General Office in the Directorate of Health in Anbar, said:

"The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Iraq came at a time when the Government of Iraq was working to improve the living conditions of its citizens, who in previous years suffered from lack of basic services and infrastructure, especially health services, due to instability, conflict and many challenges. Not only this project improves the health services for the people in Al Ramadi, but also contributes to reducing the pressure on the hospitals designated for treatment of COVID-19 and severe cases."

H.E. Mr. SUZUKI Kotaro, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, congratulated on the completion of Al Adel Primary Health Center and said:

"The mission and activities of medical professionals dedicated to protecting people's health and saving lives in the most difficult situation should be lauded". He went on to say: "I would like to express my gratitude and respect to the people of UNOPS, who play indispensable roles in these operations".

Mr. Muhammad Usman Akram, the Director of UNOPS Multi-Country Office in Amman, said:

"Thanks to the generous funding from the Government of Japan, UNOPS worked hand in hand with the Directorate of Health in Anbar to serve approximately 123,000 beneficiaries and make a difference in the health sector for the people of Iraq. UNOPS remains committed to supporting our Iraqi partners and the people of Iraq in their efforts to address the challenges in the health sector, and enhance their resilience to counter the future challenges."

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the health conditions in Iraq and increased the need to enhance the health centers' infrastructure and to improve their capacities in the provision of inclusive healthcare to the Iraqi people. The project supported the health sector through enhancing access for all to medical services in support of the COVID-19 response in the targeted areas of Anbar Governorate.

Through gender-sensitive rehabilitation of primary health centers, and the provision of medical equipment, supplies and furniture, the project contributed to improving the overall living conditions of the beneficiaries including vulnerable and marginalised populations, returnees, and internally displaced persons.

The project supported Sustainable Development Goal 3 - "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages".

(Source: UN)

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AirSada wins Medevac Contract with JGC in Iraq

By John Lee.

The Turkish-based private jet charter company AirSada has won a contract to supply medical evacuation (medevac) services to Japan's JGC Corporation in Iraq.

JGC is the main contractor for the major upgrading project at South Refineries Company's (SRC) Basra refinery.

The contract with AirSada, which runs to September 2025, includes air ambulance and medical treatment services.

It was signed by Mr Tolga Urcu, CEO of AirSada, and Mr Hiroto Ogura,  Project Manager for JGC at SRC Basra.

(Source: AirSada)

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Rapid Response Team for Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

WHO builds capacity of rapid response team in Iraq with a focus on Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

The World Health Organization (WHO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Health in Iraq, concluded today a three-day workshop aimed at building the capacity of the country's rapid response team (RRT) in field investigation and response, with an emphasis on the recent outbreak of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF).

The workshop, organized in collaboration with the Government of Japan, targeted 42 participants, including physicians, veterinarians, lab technicians, health workers and zoonotic diseases investigators from 13 Iraqi governorates.

"Rapid response teams constitute a pillar in human security and have contributed to containing outbreaks of epidemic- and pandemic-prone diseases in Iraq and beyond. This training, which used CCHF as a case study, will further equip the RRT with knowledge and capacities to control any future outbreaks of this anthropo-zoonotic disease in Iraq and regionally," said Dr Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative in Iraq.

"We are very grateful for the collaboration with the Government of Japan, which enabled us to conduct this important training workshop and are looking forward to further collaboration to strengthen health security in Iraq. We're also pleased with the effective cooperation between the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and WHO to tackle this disease," he added.

During the workshop, experts from the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean and WHO country office in Iraq discussed the national zoonotic disease preparedness and response plan in the context of One Health.

The team delivered various presentations focused on infectious hazard prevention and preparedness, including rapid risk assessment, case management, risk communication and community engagement, data management, and report writing. Working group exercises followed each of these sessions, with participants divided into multisectoral teams similar to the constitution of RRTs in the field.

The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter. Most cases have occurred among people working in the livestock industry such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians.

The disease has been endemic to Iraq since 1979, with few sporadic cases reported across the country. At times, small outbreaks have been reported, with the last outbreak happening in 2021 with 18 cases confirmed in Thi-qar and Ninawa Governorates.

(Source: WHO)

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JGC happy with Progress at Basra Refinery

By John Lee.

Japan's JGC Corporation has said it expects its Iraqi oil refinery project to significantly increase its sales for the fiscal year starting 1st April 2022.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi laid the foundation stone for the new $4-billion Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) complex at Basra Refinery in April 2021. The project will increase the refinery's capacity by 55,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The company said that detailed design has begun, orders for major equipment are almost complete, and construction site development work is progressing smoothly.

Regarding recent sharp increases in equipment prices, it said that purchase of bulk materials will begin after detailed engineering work is started; while it will continue to
monitor the situation closely, it assumes no significant impact.

(Source: JGC)

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Construction Starts at $94m Shatra Hospital

By John Lee.

The Secretary-General of Iraq's Council of Ministers, Dr. Hamid Naim Al-Ghazi [Hamed Al Gazi] has laid the foundation stone for a 200-bed general hospital in Shatra City, in Dhi Qar province.

The hospital will serve the inhabitants of Shatra and the surrounding areas.

UK-based Protechnique will complete the project within 36 months, under the supervision of Japanese engineering firm ITEC and the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

Funding for the $94-million project includes a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

(Source: Protechnique)

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Block 10 More Attractive for Lukoil than West Qurna 2

Writing in Oil Price, Simon Watkins points out that the $5.99-per-barrel remuneration that Lukoil will receive under its technical service contract at Block 10 is considerably better than its $1.15/barrel payment at West Qurna 2.

Block 10 includes the Eridu field, which has indicated oil reserves of between 7 and 12 billion barrels, and a proposed peak production rate of 250,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Lukoil has a 60-percent stake in Block 10, with Inpex owning 40 percent.

Click here to read the full article.

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Jordanian Firm to build Shatrah General Hospital

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health has signed the contract for the construction of the Shatrah General Hospital, in Dhi Qar governorate.

Acting Minister of Health, Dr. Hani Al-Uqabi, signed the contract with a Jordanian company to build the 200-bed facility, with fund including a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The hospital will serve a population of approximately 400,000 people.

(Source: General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers)

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LUKoil files Development Plan for Iraq’s Eridu Oilfield

By John Lee.

Russia's LUKoil and Japan's Inpex Corporation have applied to Iraq's state-owned Dhi-Qar Oil Company (DQOC) for what Lukoil describes as "commerciality of reserves", and filed a preliminary proposal on the development of the Eridu oil field within Block-10.

According to Lukoil, geological exploration has proved significant reserves, making Eridu the largest discovery in Iraq in the last twenty years.

Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told the Iraqi News Agency (INA), that "the results of the exploration for the Arido field are good ... Lukoil requested an extension of the period to obtain greater reserves."

The Eridu field was discovered in 2016. Preliminary expectations based on studies presented by the Lukoil indicate oil reserves of between 7 and 12 billion barrels, and a proposed peak production rate of 250,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Lukoil has a 60-percent stake in Block 10, with Inpex owning 40 percent.

(Sources: Lukoil, INA, Ministry of Oil)

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Japan extends $300m Loan for Basra Refinery

By John Lee.

Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Motegi Toshimitsu, visited Iraq on Saturday, meeting with Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, and President Barham Salih.

Minister Motegi announced that Japan intends to extend the "Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project (Phase 3)" Yen loan project (up to the amount of 32.7 billion yen) [$300 million], and expressed his hopes that this project would contribute to providing the stable supply of energy and to creating jobs in Iraq. In response, Minister Hussein expressed his gratitude.

Minister Motegi added that he appreciates the publication of the "White Paper for Economic and Financial Reforms", and stated that Japan looks to support Iraq's reform efforts together with the international community through the "Iraq Economic Contact Group."

Both sides also exchanged views on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and means to improve the business and investment environment in Iraq.

(Source: Govt of Japan)

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Iraq Borrows $360m to Reduce Gas Flaring

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing in Basrah Gas Company (BGC) to support one of the largest gas flaring reduction projects in the world, helping to improve energy access, prevent associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and support a more resilient, sustainable energy sector in Iraq.

BGC is an Iraqi joint venture created to treat and process associated gas that would otherwise be flared. The project is expected to increase BGC's processing capacity, thereby avoiding more unnecessary flaring and associated GHG emissions by around 10 million tons per annum. It will support Iraq's transition to a lower carbon path and improve access to a domestic energy source, helping the country meet its growing power needs.

IFC is the lead arranger of the five-year, $360 million loan to BGC.

Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, Minister of Oil for Iraq, said:

"Signing the loan agreement reinforces the collective efforts to increase investment in associated gas flaring reduction using world-class technologies. It is in line with our objectives of turning flared gas into cleaner valuable energy and reducing the impact of the Green House Gas emissions on the environment.

"This loan opens new horizons for cooperation and collaboration that serve common purposes and interests, reiterating Iraq's commitment to increasing investment in associated gas flaring reduction and to achieving the objectives set by the Paris Agreement."

Malcolm Mayes, BGC Managing Director, said:

"We are delighted to have successfully signed this loan with IFC, the first loan facility of its kind in the energy sector in Iraq-a milestone to be proud of.

"The agreement demonstrates the strength of Iraqi companies and their ability to attract funding and trust from international banks. The intent of this five-year loan is to support BGC's growth project and turn the otherwise wasted flared gas into much needed energy for the country. Our strategy is in alignment with the government of Iraq's vision to power Iraqi homes with electricity and create a more sustainable energy industry."

Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, said:

"This pioneering project has the potential to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits, including lower GHG emissions and increased fiscal revenues, and will improve energy access and lower costs for Iraqi citizens.

"The project comes after years of hard work and strong cooperation by all parties involved. We hope that it will send a strong signal to other investors and help drive more private investments to tackle climate change and support inclusive growth in Iraq."

IFC's investment comprises a $137.76 million loan for IFC's own account, a $180 million loan in which participations were syndicated to eight international banks (Bank of China, Citi, Deutsche Bank AG, Industrial Commercial Bank of China, Natixis, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank), and a $42.24 million loan through IFC's Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, a platform that allows institutional investors to participate in IFC's loan portfolio. The loan is without recourse to or guarantees from any of the shareholders.

Iraq is endowed with significant reserves of natural gas, mainly produced as a byproduct of legacy oil extraction. However, in the absence of adequate infrastructure to capture and process it, about 70 percent of all natural gas produced in the country is flared. Capturing associated gas for subsequent use can help Iraq reduce overall emissions.

The project benefits from long-standing engagements of the World Bank Group in Iraq's energy sector. Iraq joined the Global Gas Flaring Reduction initiative in 2011 and committed in 2013 to eliminate all routine natural gas flaring by 2030.

(Sources: IFC, Iraqi Govt)

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