WFP Iraq Country Brief, July 2022

In Numbers

256,176 people assisted in July 2022

US$3.2 m cash-based transfers made

US$44.2 m six months (August 2022-Jan 2023) net funding requirements

Operational Updates

  • In July, WFP provided cash and food assistance to 184,091 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 68,725 refugees, and 3,360 people from vulnerable communities through resilience building initiatives.
  • In early July 2022, the Ambassador of Japan in Iraq visited WFP's resilience projects in Anbar, funded by Japan. The visit provided an opportunity for Japan to receive a firsthand account of the impact of the projects which rehabilitated 24 pumping and sewage drainage station. The stations continue to support 37 hectares of land enabling communities to grow and harvest crops.
  • In July, WFP handed over mechanized farming equipment (tractors) to the Directorate of Ninewa to support small holder farmers in the governorate and enhance the agricultural sector in Ninewa.
  • Under the National School Feeding Programme, WFP is preparing for the implementation of the School Feeding programme (SFP) with the Ministry of Education for the new academic year 2022/2023, that is expected to start in September.
  • Data collection under the WFP retargeting exercise across its entire beneficiary base continued in the month of July. The exercise seeks to ensure that the most vulnerable families who are unable to survive without assistance continued to receive support to meet their needs. Results will be verified and issued once the targeting exercise is concluded.
  • In July, the conflict sensitivity team conducted a mission to Thi-qar, Basra and Muthana to assess the social cohesion component of the resilience programme. This mission took place to ensure WFP resilience activities are conducted in conflict-sensitive manners.
  • Under the reform of Iraq's Public Distribution System (PDS), WFP continues to assist the government to print smart cards as part of an overall digital approach. As of July 2022, 34,000 digital PDS smart cards were printed for citizens at the Sadr city branch in Baghdad.
  • WFP together with UNICEF and ILO completed consultations with federal government leaders on policy making and the development of a strategy to create a single registry. The consultation sessions took place in Baghdad with representatives from relevant ministries (MOP, MOLSA, MOI, MOE, and MOH) and UN agencies.

Please click here to download the full report.

(Sources: ReliefWeb, WFP)

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Heatwave in Iraq: Concern for Workers in 50C Heat

Effective measures are needed to ensure adequate Occupational Safety and Health for workers during extreme heat in Iraq

With temperatures in Iraq soaring up to 50 degrees Celsius [122 degrees Fahrenheit] in recent weeks, the ILO in Iraq is calling on its tripartite partners - the government, employers' and workers' organizations - to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to mitigate some of the risks associated with working under extreme heat and ensure that workers are provided with adequate care at their workplace.

The extreme heat is increasing concerns in relation to the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) conditions of workers, especially those employed in construction and agriculture - a sector which is already considered as one of the most hazardous in the world.

According to the recent Labour Force Survey, one in four workers in Iraq is employed either in construction or agriculture - an extremely significant number.

The ILO released a report in 2019 which stated that the "rise in global temperatures caused by climate change will make the phenomenon of "heat stress" more common," adding that "the higher heat levels caused by climate change threaten progress towards decent work by leading to a deterioration of working conditions and undermining the security, health and well-being of workers."

Workers in some parts of the country have been given time off due to the heat. Yet, for workers who cannot afford to miss a day of work, such as those in informal, temporary, seasonal or day labour, measures must be taken to ensure their protection.

On the practical level, this could include ensuring workers are provided with appropriate clothing, access to drinking water and shaded areas; and are encouraged to work during cooler hours with appropriate break times.

It also includes ensuring that legislation related to OSH are being enforced through labour inspections - especially in sectors which face most risks.

Iraq has ratified a number of ILO Conventions which focus on the needs to ensure protection for workers in different sectors, and most recently through the ratification of the Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001 (No. 184), which re-affirms the country's commitment to decent work and International Labour Standards.

The ILO is committed to supporting its partners in the development of Occupational Safety and Health and Labour Inspection polices and systems, that will contribute to modernizing those systems and improving conditions for workers and their employers, in line with International Labour Standards.

While these efforts are not specific to heat stress at work, they will nonetheless contribute to ensuring a more and better working environment for all workers in Iraq.

The safety and health of workers is the responsibility of everyone. We all have a role to play - even if small - to ensure that working conditions are decent and safe and that our environment is protected from further degradation."

(Source: UN)

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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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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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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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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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Health Facilities Reopened after Destruction by ISIL

Health facilities in Al-Karma officially reopen after destruction by ISIL

Two newly-rehabilitated health facilities - the External Consultancy Clinic and Al-Sijr Public Health Centre were officially reopened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Government of Australia and Anbar Governorate.

When ISIL captured Al-Karma, the health facilities across the region suffered extensive damages. Equipment was stolen and infrastructure was left destroyed. Prior to rehabilitation of the health facilities, residents were forced to travel more than fifteen kilometers to Fallujah Teaching Hospital for treatment and medical services.

The two facilities were rehabilitated by UNDP's Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) with generous funding provided by the Government of Australia.  In addition, the Government of Denmark provided furniture and USAID supplied equipment to the Al-Sijr Public Health Centre.

"The reopening of the External Consultancy Clinic and Al-Sijr Public Health Centre in Al-Karma is an important milestone to restoring essential health services across the region. However, our commitment to building Iraq forward better and stabilizing areas affected by ISIL do not end here. We have also supported the rehabilitation of over 50 health facilities in Anbar alone. This includes clinics, public health centers, hospitals and even specialty hospitals such as maternity and dental clinics," says UNDP Resident Representative in Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

"We are here today because of the generous funding and longstanding partnership with the international community. The rehabilitation of the two facilities would not have been possible without the support provided by the Government of Australia. I would also like to thank Government of Denmark for providing the furniture and USAID for supplying the equipment at the Al-Sijr Public Health Centre," she added.

"Australia values our longstanding partnership with the Government of Iraq and UNDP and is proud to support recovery efforts in this country. The conflict with ISIL left severe damage to vital infrastructure and impacted the lives of many Iraqis, says Ms. Paula Ganly, the Australian Ambassador to Iraq.

"The Australian Government believes that access to adequate health care is a basic human right. The rehabilitation and functioning of these clinics will provide essential health services to Karma district and surrounds," she added.

Since 2015, through the Funding Facility for Stabilization, UNDP has completed around 3,100 stabilization projects across the liberated areas of Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa, Salah Al-Din.  To date, the programme has supported the return of more than 4.8 million people back to their place of origin.

(Source: UN)

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WHO marks 5 Yrs of Strategic Partnership with USAID in Iraq

WHO marks five years of strategic partnership with USAID in Iraq

The World Health Organization (WHO) marks the five-year milestone of its strategic partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the provision of life-saving and essential healthcare services to vulnerable populations in Iraq.

Over the past five years, USAID has provided WHO Iraq with support totalling US$122 million.

Dr Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative in Iraq, said@

"USAID has been the biggest funding partner of WHO in Iraq over the past five years. We're proud of this genuine and growing partnership, which helped us expand access to much-needed healthcare services for millions of people in different governorates.

"We greatly value and appreciate this impactful partnership, and we're exploring new opportunities to deepen this collaborative partnership further."

Impact of USAID's contribution

Thanks to the generous contribution from USAID, over 6 million primary health care consultations, including mental and physical rehabilitation services, were provided to Iraqi citizens, while over 1,500 individuals benefited from various capacity building training.

USAID support also provided 56 new ambulances to the Iraqi health system, helping to ensure uninterrupted access to referral services. Funds also went to delivering essential medicines, medical supplies and diagnostic equipment to various conflict-affected governorates to provide comprehensive primary health care services to millions of people, including around 300,000 Syrian refugees and host communities in Erbil, Dahuk and Sulaymaniyah governorates.

In addition, USAID has contributed to WHO-Iraq's preparedness and response to COVID-19 by adding up to 800 new COVID-19 vaccination locations, including in challenging humanitarian areas, such as in camps housing refugees and internally displaced persons.

It is also providing equipment and supplies, as well as technical assistance to Iraqi laboratories, clinics, and hospitals for testing, diagnosing, and treating COVID-19. USAID funding is also helping train frontline workers on caring for COVID-19 patients and organizing awareness-raising campaigns.

Heather Schildge, Acting USAID Mission Director to Iraq, said:

"The United States is the leading humanitarian assistance provider in Iraq. We are pleased to celebrate five years of fruitful partnership with the WHO and stand committed to working with the Government of Iraq and other partners to provide critical services to Iraq's most vulnerable populations."

(Source: UN)

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UNICEF Iraq gets $26m from Germany for COVID Response

UNICEF receives US$26 Million from the Government of Germany to support the provision of basic services and the COVID-19 response in Iraq

The funding will allow 1 million children and adolescents to have continued access to learning through a combination of approaches such as blended learning and 50,000 vulnerable people to receive critical child protection services

The Government of Germany has contributed $26 million to UNICEF to support UNICEF in its ongoing efforts to assist the Government of Iraq in strengthening its systems and improve access to quality basic services for children and their families in the context of COVID-19. This amount brings the German Government's total contributions to UNICEF in Iraq to over 200 million dollars since 2015.

The funding includes support for measures addressing the impact of COVID-19 by ensuring communities continue to receive essential water, sanitation, education and child protection preventive and response services. This will include the provision of personal protective equipment to 20,000 healthcare providers and hand sanitizer gel, soap bars and hand hygiene promotion to over 200,000 people.

"This funding is crucial as we support Iraq to increase access to basic services and bolster the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign. UNICEF thanks the Government of Germany for this timely support and partnership to accelerate our efforts to ensure every child in Iraq has access to safe water, education, social and child protection services when required," said Sheema SenGupta, UNICEF's Representative in Iraq.

"Children belong to the most vulnerable members of the Iraqi population, especially those living in IDP camps. I was very touched recently by my visit in a UNICEF-built school in Shariya Camp", said GER Ambassador to Iraq, Martin Jäger. "Germany is funding UNICEF activities to make sure that Iraqi children grow up equipped with what they need most: health and education, because we can only overcome the Covid pandemic together, it is a global challenge where no one is safe until everyone is safe."

An estimated 1 million children and adolescents will have continued access to learning through a combination of approaches such as blended learning, education TV & online portals and self-learning materials. At least 50,000 people will receive critical child protection services mainly from high-risk areas across Iraq and areas with vulnerable populations, such as camps for the internally displaced and returnee community areas.

In addition, UNICEF will support provision of access to safe, equitable, gender-inclusive water and sanitation services for over 700,000 vulnerable people and their families in targeted governorates, including community-focused hygiene promotion and improvement of WASH services in schools and healthcare facilities.

The project will primarily benefit children and young people, who make up more than half the population of Iraq. As the country marks two years since the pandemic was declared, the number of children and young people estimated to be under the poverty line has doubled. Children and young people are also the most at risk of experiencing poverty, service disruptions in critical basic services like primary health, water sanitation and hygiene, education and increase in rights violations.

UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government of Iraq and partners, will continue to work on long-term sustainability of national systems by strengthening national capacity to provide integrated access to basic services with the goal of enabling children to overcome poverty, enjoy their rights and fulfil their full potential.

(Source: UN)

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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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