Last updated January 2017


In Qayyarah, to the south of Mosul, MSF has set up a hospital with an emergency room, an operating theatre and a 32-bed inpatient department, next to the primary healthcare centre. MSF medical teams provide surgical and medical emergency care, and organise referrals to permanent hospital structures when needed. An average of 50 patients per day are seen in the emergency room. Burns and orthopaedic injuries (i.e. soft tissue injuries and fractures caused by falls or firearms) make up a lot of the surgical emergencies. As far as medical emergencies are concerned, teams see many patients suffering from respiratory tract infections and cardiac failure. On average 40 patients per week are admitted to the inpatient department. 

In response to the influx of people fleeing fighting around Mosul, mobile teams were put in place in November in the new camps for internally displaced people set up west of Erbil. MSF teams are providing primary healthcare and treatment for chronic diseases, as well as psychological and psychiatric care in these camps and in other camps like Debaga hosting displaced people who fled in 2014 or later. They also provide health services to displaced people who have settled with the local population in villages or urban locations.

The Field Surgical Unit north of Mosul has closed due to a lack of patients. Activities have shifted to two advanced medical points closer to the northern frontline, where the team is doing triage and stabilisation of patients, and working closely with the permanent hospital in Al Shekhan district, where patients are being referred to for further treatment.

Northern Iraq

In areas close to the frontlines in Ninewa governorate, MSF mobile teams are providing general healthcare, treatment for chronic diseases and mental health services to displaced people, returnees and poor local communities. Other MSF teams are providing similar services in several locations in the Kurdistan region and around Kirkuk.

In Kirkuk itself, MSF is responding to the influx of displaced persons and war-wounded patients from Hawija where a military offensive is underway. Teams are supporting two hospitals and are providing primary healthcare in displacement camps and along the Kirkuk-Hawija frontline at entry points where people fleeing Hawija cross into Kirkuk.

MSF also recently opened a maternity unit in the village of Tal Maraq, Ninewa, with the aim of assisting safe deliveries. A significant number of women in this area deliver at home without the help of skilled birth attendants. The maternity offers basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care, manages minor obstetric complications, and refers patients with more serious obstetric complications to hospitals in Zakho.

In Sulaymaniyah, MSF is working with the health authorities in Sulaymaniyah emergency hospital and is providing hands-on training to improve the quality of medical services in the intensive care unit and the emergency trauma ward.

Central Iraq

With military operations expanding in northwestern Iraq, thousands of Iraqis continue to flock to relatively safer areas, including the governorate of Salaheddine in the centre of the country. To respond to the growing needs, MSF started running mobile clinics in the city of Tikrit and the surrounding areas in June. The clinics offer outpatient and mental health consultations.

In Diyala governorate MSF, in collaboration with the Directorate of Health, is providing treatment for chronic diseases, and sexual and reproductive health consultations to displaced people in Khanaqin camps and in the recently retaken towns of Jalawla and Sadyia. MSF teams are also providing mental health services and are running health promotion activities.

In Anbar governorate, MSF runs a 20-bed secondary healthcare centre in a camp for internally displaced people. The camp currently has a population of around 60,000, and the hospital offers them emergency, stabilisation and referral services as part of a short stay programme that will eventually incorporate a mental health component.


The MSF project in Abu Ghraib provides medical and mental health services to people displaced from central Iraq, mainly Anbar, Salaheddine and Diyala. A mobile medical team operates in impoverished neighbourhoods in Abu Ghraib district, where many displaced people have settled in the past two years. A second medical team is based in a primary healthcare clinic in the Al Shuhada II area.

In Bzeibiz, which links the capital to Anbar governorate, MSF has operated a primary healthcare centre since January 2016. The centre has an emergency room open 24/7 and a day clinic.

Southern Iraq

In November, over 20 million pilgrims travelled to Karbala governorate for the Arba’een pilgrimage. MSF took this opportunity to conduct an anti-scabies campaign as people are spending time in close proximity during the event.

Discussions are also ongoing with the health authorities for MSF to support a 70-bed paediatric hospital in Musayib, Babil governorate, starting in January 2017.

Assisting Syrian refugees in Iraq

Over the past year, the spread of violence across Iraq has led some Syrian refugees to return to Syria. The population of Domiz refugee camp (Dohuk governorate) has significantly reduced over the past year due to large movements of people. Today, the camp's population is estimated to be around 38,392 (UNCHR, October 2016). In Domiz refugee camp, MSF is running a maternity unit where women can deliver their babies safely, as well as access reproductive healthcare. MSF psychologists and psychiatrists are also ensuring mental health services are available to Syrian refugees living in the Kawargosk, Gawilan and Darshakran camps.

Recent Crisis Updates:

Activities  2015 International Activity Report

In 2015, MSF expanded its activities to provide basic healthcare and relief to displaced families, returnees, impoverished host communities and Syrian refugees in locations across 11 governorates: Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Salaheddin, Diyala, Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala and Babil.

Throughout these governorates, MSF deployed mobile clinics to deliver medical care to those unable to reach health facilities due to movement restrictions and security risks. The teams visited a number of locations regularly, basing themselves in clinics, tents and even buses. In highly militarised areas, doctors provided referral documents to ensure safe passage for patients requiring treatment at secondary care facilities. MSF teams also monitored possible disease outbreaks.

Most of the health problems seen by MSF staff were related to people’s poor living conditions, and included respiratory and urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal problems, arthritis and skin diseases. MSF also focused on chronic diseases, particularly hypertension and diabetes, and mother and child health. Female medical staff were present to encourage women to attend clinics.

Read more about MSF's activities in Iraq in 2015.

Year MSF first worked in the country: 2003.

2015 Key figures
Outpatient consultations 218,300
Individual and group mental health consultations 20,700
Relief kits distributed 12,500
No. staff in 2015 547
2015 Expenditure €31.0 million

Figures from 2015 International Activity Report
and 2015 International Financial Report

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