MSF in Iraq annual report 2021

The effects of years of conflict and instability are still felt in Iraq, more evidently in regions that witnessed fighting between the Islamic State (IS) group and the Iraqi-led coalition. In 2021, Iraq continued to be severely affected by COVID-19, with the country experiencing its second and third COVID-19 waves, each recording a higher number of infections and deaths than the one before it.

The pandemic significantly impacted the ongoing recovery of the health system and people's ability to access healthcare services. Many healthcare facilities across the country suspended their regular programmes to focus on treating COVID-19 patients.

MSF teams continued to provide a wide range of essential medical services and supported the response to health emergencies and health needs caused by the recent war against IS, the consequent displacement and return of millions of people, people's under-served healthcare needs and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This annual report provides an overview and the highlights of our activities across Iraq during 2021.

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: MSF)

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Saudi Arabia allocates Grant for Renovation of Ibn Al Khatib Hospital

By John Lee.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding the allocation of a grant from the government of Saudi Arabia to finance the renovation of Ibn Al Khatib Hospital in Baghdad.

The Saudi embassy initially announced its support for the hospital last year, following a fire that killed at least 82 people, and left more than 100 injured.

The grant will be provided through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).

During the meeting, Iraq's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr. Abdul Sattar Hadi Al-Janabi, praised the critical role played by the Kingdom through the SFD in supporting the health sector and the infrastructure in Iraq. He highlighted the importance of the present project in enhancing the livelihood of many Iraqis and their access to essential health services.

According to the official Saudi Press Agency, the Kingdom has allocated $1.5 billion for soft loans through SFD to support development in Iraq.

(Source: Saudi Press Agency)

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$25m agreement for Medical Waste Management in Iraq

Ministry of Health and UNDP partner to address medical waste management challenges under $25m agreement

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq has signed a US$25 million agreement with Iraq's Ministry of Health (MoH) to strengthen medical waste management in the country.

The agreement is part of the $100 million Iraq Covid-19 Vaccination Project (ICVP), a loan financed by the World Bank to support the Government of Iraq's rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Under the agreement, UNDP will procure and install approximately 180 shredder autoclaves which convert medical waste - largely from COVID-19 vaccinations - such as syringes, ampules, dressings and personal protective equipment like masks and gloves into ordinary waste for safe disposal. These efforts support MoH's safe deployment of the vaccine throughout Iraq.

"We confirm the ongoing partnership between the Federal Ministry of Health and all local and international supporting bodies for their technical support, and for developing infrastructure to strengthen the provision of health services across all levels of government and the Kurdistan Region. We are grateful for all the efforts supporting the Federal Ministry of Health and its departments in addressing health sector challenges." says the Federal Minister of Health, Dr. Hani Musa Badr Al-Uqabi.

"As the development partner of choice, UNDP is proud to have been selected by the Ministry of Health and the World Bank to implement this critical project.  The established and successful mechanisms UNDP Iraq has in place ensure agility, adaptability, flexibility, and transparency in our delivery." says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq Ms Zena Ali Ahmad.

"We also welcome the new collaboration with the World Bank who has provided the funds for this much-needed support for medical waste management in the country," she adds.

(Source: UN)

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Scramble to Contain new Animal Virus Outbreak

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

Iraqi health authorities scramble to contain new animal virus outbreak

Viral hemorrhagic fever is spread by contact with animals and can constitute a "public health emergency of international concern."

Click here to read the full article.

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WHO provides Medical Supplies for recent Cholera Outbreak

WHO Provides Sulaymaniyah with urgent medical supplies to prepare for and respond to the recent Cholera outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) dispatched an urgent consignment of medicines and medical supplies to Sulaymaniyah governorate in the (KR-I) to support the Regional Ministry of Health in KR-I step up its response to the sudden cholera outbreak in the region.

The consignment comprised 4 pallets of medicines and medical supplies, including infusion sets, antibiotics, and intravenous fluid (ringer lactate) to cover the needs of a population of approximately 5000 people for a duration of 3 months.

The Minister of Health in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq Dr. Saman Hussain Barzangy attended the handover and expressed concern over the sudden increase in acute diarrhea cases in Sulaymaniyah and a few other Iraqi governorates. "13 Cholera cases were confirmed by the laboratory among which 10 are in Sulaymaniyah. We are following the situation closely and have scaled up surveillance, preparedness and response activities, and hope to be able to contain the outbreak in the coming weeks in close collaboration with WHO and other partners" Dr. Barzangy said.

The Ministry of Health in KR-I is working with the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) and have requested support to test 56 additional samples taken from Sulaymaniyah. As of 20 June 2022, 13 cholera cases from Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, and Muthanna, were confirmed by the CPHL.

"The increase in new Cholera cases in Sulaymaniyah and other governorates is a reason for concern for WHO and the MOH, as it is coming on the backdrop of the COVID19 pandemic and other epidemic-prone outbreaks that the country is still battling. However, WHO is committed to supporting the Ministry of Health both in Baghdad and in Kurdistan, to prepare for and respond to this outbreak and lower the impact on the population, including on the vulnerable groups of women, children, and the low-income communities," said Dr. Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Iraq.

"We are also calling upon our funding partners, stakeholders, WASH sector, and health cluster members to enhance collaboration with the local health authorities to ensure a proactive and coordinated approach to cholera response across Iraq," Dr. Zouiten added.

It is worth mentioning that cholera is a waterborne bacterial infection that can spread quickly through a population. The disease is primarily contracted by consuming water or food contaminated with the cholera bacteria, Vibrio cholera. It causes uncontrollable diarrhea that, if left untreated, can result in dehydration or death.

(Source: UN)

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First National Conference to Address Early Marriage in Iraq

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Council of Ministers Secretariat (COMSEC), in partnership with the Women Empowerment Department (WED), and support from the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and Canada, organised a two-day conference to address early marriage in Iraq.

The conference, which took place on 11-12 June, recognised the alarming situation with early marriage which has increased from %21.7 to %25.5 for the past ten years in Iraq.

The event brought together government entities, local authorities, religious and tribal leaders, civil society organisations, young people, academia, and representatives of the international and donor community to discuss the root causes of early marriage, its impact and solutions to address it.

Representatives of the government of Iraq and the government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, ambassadors, tribal and religious leaders, academia and experts shared profound evidence on the devastating consequences of early marriage on the socio-economic progress, psychological and physical health of young girls and boys, families, communities and society at large.

UNFPA Representative of Iraq, Dr Rita Columbia, said:

"Tribal communities and young people affected by early marriage have asked us to raise our voice and advocate more for women and girls' rights and empowerment and take a step forward in addressing early marriage in Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region. This event shows the criticality of reducing early marriage to fulfill the rights of girls and women, and accelerate achievement of SDGs in Iraq."

The conference participants discussed and elaborated recommendations that will be taken by the Women Empowerment Directorate under the leadership of the Secretary-General of the COMSEC to support the local authorities to reduce and prevent early marriage in Iraq.

The Early Marriage is #NotNormal also includes a social media campaign and a partnership with Rakuten's Viber to promote the end of early marriage.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

(Sources: Relief Web, UN)

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Video: Workers Risk Health in Iraq’s Gold Smelters

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq's smelters: Workers risk their health for gold and silver

Decades of instability and corruption in Iraq have led to high unemployment.

That is forcing some people to resort to dangerous work to make a living - including panning for precious metals in wastewater.

Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed reports from the Iraqi capital Baghdad:

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New Primary Health Care Centre opens in Kawergosk

Opening of new primary health care centre in Kawergosk to support the local and refugee communities

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the General Directorate of Health (DoH) of the Kurdistan Regional Government inaugurated the new Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) in Kawergosk sub-district in Erbil governorate, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The new Kawergosk Public PHCC will provide primary health care services to over 20,000 people from the Syrian refugee and Iraqi displaced communities living in Kawergosk town and surrounding areas. As a result, UNHCR is contributing to give better access to quality health services to all without discrimination. The newly-established health care centre has the capacity to take 150 to 200 consultations per day

The construction of the PHCC was made possible through a generous contribution from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the largest professional services networks in the world. The land for the project was generously provided by the municipality of Kawergosk, and the Directorate of Health will be managing the PHCC and providing the necessary staff, medical equipment, and medicines.

Mr. Hussain Kalari, the Director General of Joint Crisis Coordination Centre, Ms. Nicole Epting, Deputy Representative of UNHCR in Iraq, Ms Kwestan Ahmed, the Mayor of Khabat district, Mr. Suhaib Asad, Tax Partner at PwC, and Jaivir Singh, Leader of the Global Office for Humanitarian Affairs at PwC, cut the ribbon to announce the opening of the new health centre. The PHCC provides comprehensive primary health care services, including consultations, provision of medicines, laboratory services, emergency referrals, immunization and growth monitoring, reproductive health services and dental care.

"We are grateful for the support and hospitality that the local communities in Kawergosk town have extended to the refugee communities in the nearby Kawergosk camp. In return, we are pleased to now support the national health services for the benefit of all, refugees and Kawergosk local communities alike." said Nicole Epting.

Jaivir Singh "At PwC, we are committed to supporting and empowering those most in need in a sustained manner. The newly inaugurated primary health centre at Kawergosk will significantly improve the quality of care and services provided to the surrounding communities, making a positive contribution to their lives. I extend my thanks to our partner UNHCR Iraq and the General Directorate of Health (DoH) of the Kurdistan Regional Government for their efforts, as well as our teams at PwC for bringing our values to life."

UNHCR extends its sincere gratitude to the people and Government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, PricewaterhouseCoopers and all the stakeholders who participated in making this project a success.

(Source: UN)

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AirSada Medevac: Keeping your People Safe in Iraq

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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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