Last updated April 2017

Northern Iraq

Since the start of the Mosul offensive, MSF has worked to bolster its response in Ninewa governorate by providing lifesaving stabilisation and emergency care, mother and child healthcare and mental health consultations. MSF medical teams are working in hospitals and advanced medical posts in east and west Mosul and in villages in the city’s outskirts. They are also providing healthcare and mental healthcare in newly established camps for people fleeing Mosul.

To the south of Mosul city MSF runs a trauma field hospital. Since the opening of the project, there have been a large number of patients, most of whom are war-wounded civilians.

In east Mosul, MSF is working in a hospital running the emergency room, operating theatre, maternity and inpatient department. Since the hospital opened in early March, the team has seen more than 2,900 patients and treated more than 360 war-wounded. An average of between 35 and 40 babies are born every week.

MSF opened a 15-bed facility in east Mosul at the end of March to provide basic emergency services and allow women to deliver safely.

Our team is also providing much needed, long-term post-operative care with rehabilitation and psychosocial support for wounded people who have been treated in field hospitals in Mosul.

In east Mosul, an emergency room was opened in Al Taheel hospital at the end of March to provide surgical and medical emergency care.

In Qayyarah, south of Mosul MSF set up a 32-bed hospital, with an emergency room (ER) and an operating theatre to provide surgical and medical emergency care. An average of more than 1100 patients are received each month

MSF started to admit children displaced from west Mosul and suffering from severe malnutrition in early March. Children with severe acute malnutrition are treated in an intensive therapeutic feeding centre with a 10-bed capacity, which is set up inside the hospital.

MSF is also running a mental health clinic in Qayyarah hospital, while a mobile clinic provides mental healthcare in Qayyarah camps for internally displaced people.

In recent months, the teams have expanded their reach to people fleeing the fighting in Mosul and displaced in Ninewa governorate. In response to the influx of internally displaced people, mobile teams are providing basic healthcare, treatment for chronic diseases, as well as psychological and psychiatric care at camps in Hasansham, Khazer and Chamakor, west of Erbil. They also provide health services in camps such as Debaga, hosting displaced people who fled in 2014 or later.

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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