Iraqi Kurdistan sticks with AstraZeneca Vaccine

By Adam Lucente for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq's Kurdistan region sticks with AstraZeneca vaccine, reports no issues

Kurdish authorities say they will continue administering the vaccine following the European Union's conclusion that blood clots should be listed among "rare side effects" of the British-Swedish vaccine.

Click here to read the full story.

The post Iraqi Kurdistan sticks with AstraZeneca Vaccine first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Japan Invests Additional $600k for Life-Saving Services in Iraq

Japan Invests Additional US$ 607,500 for Life-Saving Maternal and Protection Services

The Government of Japan approved an additional US$607,500 to support the continuation of reproductive health and gender-based violence-related services provided by UNFPA.

In 2020, Japan contributed US$ 1.3 Million to increase the utilisation, access, and continuation of life-saving, survivor-centred, multi-sectoral gender-based violence and sexual reproductive health (SRH) services in Baghdad, Salahuddin, Anbar, and Nineveh governorates of Iraq.

The new funding will ensure that people in need, particularly returnees in the targeted areas, receive comprehensive reproductive health and gender-based violence services while supporting the prevention of COVID-19 through raising awareness of the most vulnerable communities including the people with disabilities and through the provision of Personal Protection Equipment to services providers.

His Excellency Mr Suzuki Kotaro (pictured), Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, stated: "Japan has recently decided to provide a new assistance package for Iraq amounting over US$50 million including this project as assistance for women and girls."

"With this package, the total amount of Japan's assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches US$590 million since 2014. I hope that the assistance from the Government and people of Japan will help ensure the protection of women and girls among internally displaced persons, returnee and host community", he added.

"The complexity of challenges faced by the people of Iraq, particularly women and girls, has grown due to COVID-19. The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities and exposing gaps in social systems. UNFPA strives to ensure that vulnerable women and girls receive a comprehensive package of services, a continuum of care, as well as timely referrals," said Dr Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative to Iraq.

Japan has been a UNFPA strategic partner with contributions amounting to a total of US$12,459,585 over the last six years ensuring most vulnerable women and girls affected by the crisis across Iraq have access to health and protection services.

UNFPA is thankful for the Government of Japan for their commitment to the reproductive rights of women and girls and ending gender-based violence.

(Source: UN)

The post Japan Invests Additional $600k for Life-Saving Services in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.

COVID-19: Iraqi Kurdistan reinstates Travel Ban

By Al-Monitor staff. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Kurdistan reinstates travel ban

Daily coronavirus cases are approaching historical highs in the autonomous part of northern Iraq as vaccination efforts proceed at a crawl.

The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq restricted domestic travel on Tuesday to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Click here to read the full story.

The post COVID-19: Iraqi Kurdistan reinstates Travel Ban first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraq to Buy More Pfizer Vaccine

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet held its weekly meeting on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Following discussions, the Cabinet approved the purchase of an "additional quantity" of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 (coronavirus), but did not specify the amount.

As a result of the steady increase in the number of coronavirus infections, the Cabinet also authorised the Minister of Health to contract with retired doctors and specialists to fill the shortage in health institutions. They will be paid a monthly amount of 1 million Iraqi dinars.

It was also agreed to include foreign diplomats, and workers in international organizations and companies, in the vaccination program, "taking into account the principle of reciprocity".

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

The post Iraq to Buy More Pfizer Vaccine first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraq receives First Delivery of Vaccines through COVAX Facility

Iraq receives the first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility

Amid a global shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, Iraq has finally received 336 000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility, a partnership co-led by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi - The Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF.

The AstraZeneca vaccines, manufactured by SK-Bio Institute of South Korea, arrived on Thursday 25 March 2021, and were received at Baghdad International Airport by the Minister of Health, Iraq, His Excellency Dr Hassan Mohammed Al-Tamimi, accompanied by the teams of the MOH, WHO and UNICEF.

This is a historic step towards the global goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world and is part of a first allocation of vaccines to Iraq. Further consignments of 1.1 Million COVAX vaccine doses are planned for Iraq in the coming weeks and will continue to cover 20 per cent of the population before the end of 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic still has a long a way to run in Iraq and around the world, as intense transmission is ongoing and is putting enormous pressure on hospitals, intensive care units and health workers. While the preventive measures can be effective in reducing transmission of the virus, their effectiveness depends on strict application by all citizens.

The arrival of the vaccines and the launch of a nationwide vaccination campaign will be a game changer in the battle against COVID-19. However only when more than 80% of the eligible population are reached, will a significant reduction in transmission be achieved.

His Excellency Dr Hassam Mohammed Al-Tamimi, Minister of Health, Iraq, said:

"Today, vaccines that were expected in the country since the last week of February have finally arrived. Although Iraq finalized all the requirements for the COVAX facility in time, delays in the global production and shortages of vaccines within the COVAX Facility delayed this shipment. The vaccines received today have recently received the Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization and will be a game changer in the response to COVID19 Pandemic in Iraq."

"The Ministry of health will immediately dispatch these vaccines to all departments of health in Baghdad, in all governorates and Kurdistan to be used for protecting people within the priority groups according to the national vaccine deployment plan and framework."

Dr Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative, Iraq, said:

"This is a historical landmark in the response to COVID-19 in Iraq, receiving and utilizing these vaccines is a step in the right direction in controlling the pandemic in Iraq. Indeed, these vaccines have proven to be very safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 infections, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death."

"We wish to congratulate the Ministry of Health and the Government of Iraq for all the efforts deployed for the response to COVID19 in general, and for securing the arrival of these life-saving vaccines in the country. As more vaccines are receiving the WHO Emergency Use listing, and more doses of vaccines are manufactured globally, we will be looking forward to receiving more allocations and more vaccines from the COVAX facility in the coming weeks and months."

Mr. Paul Edwards, UNICEF's acting Representative to Iraq, said:

"UNICEF and WHO have been working with the Ministry of Health around the clock to make sure that Iraq has enough syringes, vaccination cards, and state-of-the-art cold chain facilities to store the vaccines safely, in anticipation of this day. We have also trained thousands of health workers in vaccination centers across Iraq.

"We have been waiting for this day for months. Vaccines are among the greatest advances of modern medicine. They are a protective shield, keeping families and communities safe."

While these vaccines are being rolled out, the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF urge all people in Iraq to continue observing public health measures that are in place, such as wearing masks at all times, physical distancing, air ventilation, proper hand hygiene and avoiding congested gatherings and settings.

(Source: UN)

The post Iraq receives First Delivery of Vaccines through COVAX Facility first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Govt approves purchase of Pfizer Vaccine

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet held its weekly meeting on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Following discussions, the Cabinet decided to approve the purchase the coronavirus vaccine from the US company Pfizer, on the basis of the manufacture and supply agreement between Pfizer Export BV and the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

The post Iraqi Govt approves purchase of Pfizer Vaccine first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Pakistan’s assistance to Iraq to fight COVID-19

By John Lee.

On the directive of Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, Pakistan is sending three plane-loads of COVID-related relief goods to Iraq.

The first plane-load was dispatched on Saturday in presence of the Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador of Iraq to Pakistan.

The next two consignments will be sent in the coming week.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said:

"Pakistan and Iraq have long-standing fraternal ties rooted firmly in shared faith and values. The two countries have multifaceted relationship, marked by regular high-level exchanges and growing cooperation in diverse fields.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge, which can only be contained with international solidarity and cooperation. The government and people of Pakistan stand by their Iraqi brethren in this difficult time."

(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The post Pakistan's assistance to Iraq to fight COVID-19 first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Italy, UNOPS to provide Services for Returnees in Sinjar

AICS and UNOPS Partner to Rehabilitate the Basic Services for Returnees in Sinjar, Iraq

The Italian Cooperation and UNOPS launched a new project to support the Government of Iraq in rehabilitating basic services to returnees in Sinjar.

The project will support the Government of Iraq in rehabilitating the basic water services for returnees in Sinjar district in Iraq, through a partnership with the Government of Italy.

The project will contribute to achieving the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Iraq: Post-conflict transition towards durable solutions by supporting access to basic services to increase the resilience of returnees in target locations.

Since 2018, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) office in Amman has also been responsible for implementing international cooperation initiatives in Iraq. "Our support has focused on the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) and neighbouring areas such as the Ninewa plains, which experienced high rates of return after the massive displacement of the resident population," said the Head of AICS Amman office Mr. Michele Morana.

"This project comes in line with the Italian Cooperation's aid priorities targeting the health and protection sectors in the Country, as it addresses immediate recovery and aims to improve accessibility, inclusiveness and quality of basic services for minorities and local communities".

"The Government of Italy fully supports the urgent need to rebuild Sinjar, through the restoration of basic services as key to incentivizing the return of still displaced people. Every effort should also be taken to reintegrate returnees within their communities and provide them with tangible support to rebuild their lives" said the Ambassador of Italy to Iraq Bruno Antonio Pasquino.

"Thanks to the support from the Italian Cooperation, UNOPS is able to lend a hand to the people returning to Sinjar District in Iraq. Access to water supplies is one of the many challenges faced by returnees and their families. The rehabilitation of basic services in the district will contribute to improving Sinjar water infrastructure and eventually improving people's lives." said Mr. Muhammad Usman Akram, the Director of UNOPS Operational Hub in Amman.

Through this project, the targeted populations will benefit from improved and rehabilitated basic water facilities. UNOPS will focus on the improvement of water services in Sinjar district. The main focus would be to rehabilitate damaged water facilities, such as potable and/or storm water pumps, generators, parts of water treatment units.

The intervention will also include innovative technologies, such as renewable and hybrid systems, where applicable, in target locations. It is envisaged that this project will support the Government in its efforts towards the realization of Agenda 2030 and more specifically contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); specifically, SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being and SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

Sinjar is one of the four districts in Ninewa that presents a higher severity of needs, whereby the well-being, living standards, and ultimately resilience and recovery capacity of the local communities, as well as their social cohesion and safety, are all severely impacted as a result of unmet needs.

(Source: UN)

The post Italy, UNOPS to provide Services for Returnees in Sinjar first appeared on Iraq Business News.

$600m needed for 2021 Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan

On Wednesday, the Iraqi Minister of Planning H.E. Dr. Khalid Batal Najim Abdullah, and the Humanitarian Coordinator Ms. Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, released the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) to assist 1.5 million vulnerable people in Iraq.

H.E. Dr. Abdullah said:

"The HRP will complement the Government of Iraq's own initiatives to help the people of Iraq recover from the setbacks they have experienced in recent years.

"The Government of Iraq and the United Nations will continue to work in partnership to help all Iraqis achieve and maintain a dignified standard of living."

Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano commented:

"The people of Iraq should be commended for their resilience in the face of relentless hardships. COVID-19 added extra challenges for all of us in 2020.

"We are happy through the 2021 HRP to renew our commitment to assisting the most vulnerable Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees in Iraq."

Iraq continues to face a complex humanitarian situation, despite the ongoing joint efforts of humanitarian partners, the Government of Iraq, and local authorities and communities to improve circumstances.

The post-conflict humanitarian situation in Iraq remains fragile, with approximately 1.3 million IDPs, and deepening socio-economic vulnerabilities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview found that 4.1 million Iraqis are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The 2021 HRP focuses on 1.5 million of the most vulnerable IDPs living in camps and in out-of-camp locations, as well as returnees, who continue to face significant humanitarian and protection needs.

This unified appeal represents the activities of 166 operational partners - national NGOs, international NGOs and UN agencies - involved in the humanitarian response in Iraq, in coordination with the efforts of the Government of Iraq. It seeks $607.2 million to carry out humanitarian programming across nine sectors.

In 2020, the humanitarian community was able to assist approximately 1.4 million people thanks to the efforts of partners and the generosity of donors.

(Source: UN)

The post $600m needed for 2021 Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan first appeared on Iraq Business News.