internally displaced people, including 70% displaced for over 3 years
people in Iraq in need of humanitarian assistance
people in Iraq without access to health services
Refugees and displaced people – an unprecedented crisis
Iraq is a country marked by years of conflict. Although it is gradually emerging from the crisis stage, the country is still extremely fragile and is facing multiple political, economic, social and security challenges. Since the beginning of the conflict with Islamic State in 2014, Iraq has been the scene of violent events which have forced millions of people to become internally displaced in the country. The majority have sought refuge in Kurdistan and neighbouring regions. In 2017, military operations succeeded in liberating the city of Mosul in northern Iraq.
In Iraq around 1.5 million people are still internally displaced
In Iraq, of the six million people who fled their homes at the height of the conflict with Islamic State, around 1.5 million are still internally displaced. Of these, 70% have been displaced for over three years. There are many factors preventing these people from returning to their home regions, including trauma linked to the abuses perpetrated by Islamic State, community tensions, concern about war debris remaining in the area, homes that have been damaged or destroyed, the lack of services available, especially healthcare and education, and the lack of means of subsistence. These factors applies particularly to the Yazidi community of Sinjar, in Nineveh Governorate.
Critical lack of infrastructure and healthcare workers
People directly exposed to the conflict, those who were internally displaced, refugees from Syria and host communities are all direct or indirect victims of this conflict.
There is a desperate need for healthcare in the areas most affected by the conflict (primarily Nineveh, Anbar, Salah Al-Din and Kirkuk Governorates). The lack of infrastructure, the shortage of healthcare workers and the damage caused by the violence still represent major barriers to access to care for the most vulnerable.
In many regions access to healthcare is compromised by the unstable security situation. Where services are available, health centres are overcrowded and overwhelmed by the scarcity of resources (healthcare staff, medical supplies and equipment). Whole neighbourhoods have not yet been rebuilt, essential services in some regions are inadequate and poor hygiene conditions contribute to serious public health problems and the spread of disease.
The main needs in terms of health are the prevention of communicable diseases, sexual and reproductive healthcare, care for elderly people with chronic conditions, mental healthcare and the prevention of and response to gender-based violence.
Médecins du Monde works at the health centre in the Chamishko camp, the largest camp for internally displaced people in the Dohuk region in Iraqi Kurdistan. We provide a sustainable humanitarian response to the health needs of the camp’s near 27,000 residents.
In Nineveh and Kirkuk Governorates, Médecins du Monde supports local health centres with free-of-charge essential medicines and medical supplies, logistics support and infrastructure refurbishment, as well as capacity-building for local healthcare staff. MdM also provides mental health and psychosocial support services (individual sessions and group activities) and refers serious cases to specialist services.
Support for the most vulnerable in accessing good healthcare services (primary healthcare, sexual and reproductive healthcare and mental healthcare) is a central element in the challenge of resettling these communities which have been severely affected by the Iraq conflict.
The Médecins du Monde teams supported:
MÉDECINS DU MONDE’S ROLE IN RESTORING THE PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM IN IRAQ
Médecins du Monde has been working in Iraq since the 1990s. We seek to improve access to good quality health services for those who have been affected by the conflict, whether they are displaced people or host communities.
Médecins du Monde redirected its activities towards more sustainable support for local healthcare providers and the Iraqi health authorities by making the transition in 2019 from mobile healthcare provision to increased support for existing local healthcare providers and facilities.
As part of this transition process, we are also supporting the integration into primary healthcare centres of mental health and psychosocial support services and services for survivors of gender-based violence.
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