While over 4.8 million people have managed to return home, around 1.1 million people remain displaced across 18 governorates*. Both returnees and those still displaced struggle to access basic services and job opportunities.
The healthcare system is unable to fulfil the needs of people, which is exacerbated by the shortages of specialist healthcare workers and drugs.
Our teams in Iraq continue to bridge the most pressing gaps in access to healthcare in four governorates. We provide general, maternal, neonatal, and mental healthcare, in addition to surgical procedures, post-operative care and rehabilitation, treatment for non-communicable diseases and emergency medical care.
*http://iraqdtm.iom.int/ - IOM
MSF provides antenatal and postnatal care, neonatal and paediatric care, as well as family planning services. We assist births, including those with complications; our teams in Mosul and Sinjar assisted a total of 14,442 births in 2020. We also support the maternity department, at the Hawija General Hospital in Kirkuk, with emergency obstetric and neonatal care.
Many patients with physical injuries need specialised care. MSF provides surgical and rehabilitative care at Al-Wahda hospital in Mosul. We also run a medical rehabilitation centre in Baghdad, aiming to reduce long-term physical and psychological impairment of trauma patients through early physiotherapy, nursing care, pain management and mental health services care. Even after surgery, we continue to work closely with patients to help them recover and to prevent complications.
The psychological and emotional consequences of war, displacement and instability are still immense; the COVID-19 pandemic, with its additional burden, has only added to it. That's why mental health is a key component of many of our projects in Iraq. MSF psychiatrists, doctors, psychologists and counsellors give vital care and support to people with moderate or severe mental health issues.
As of August 2021, close to five million people have returned to their places of origin in Iraq over the last six and a half years (IOM). But nearly 1.2 million people remain internally displaced; they often lack access to adequate services, including healthcare, and water and sanitation. MSF teams have worked in displaced people’s camps and in areas where displaced people lack essential services.
According to the World Health Organization, Iraq is among the seven countries in the eastern Mediterranean region with a high burden of tuberculosis (TB). MSF has been supporting the National Tuberculosis Programme since 2018. We aim to improve case detection, provide better tolerated and effective treatment for drug-resistant TB patients, and improving the quality of care for patients.
Our activities in 2022 in Iraq
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2022.
After years of conflict and instability, Iraq has started to see some signs of recovery, but its healthcare system is still far from being able to fulfil all the medical needs of people, especially in areas directly affected by the most recent war with the Islamic State group.
In 2022, MSF worked in 10 projects across Baghdad, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Erbil and Dhi Qar. We offered a wide range of general and specialist medical services and support to people living in areas affected by the war, returnees from long periods of displacement in camps or other regions of the country, and communities with poor access to healthcare. Services included emergency, maternal and neonatal care, specialist orthopaedic and maternity surgery, comprehensive post-operative rehabilitation and care, treatment for non-communicable diseases, and mental health support. We also provided medical supplies, technical training, and support for emergency preparedness and response in several health facilities across the country.
Patients requiring advanced surgical care were referred to MSF’s reconstructive surgery programme in Amman, Jordan, which has been conducting orthopaedic, plastic and maxillofacial surgery for patients from Iraq and other countries in the Middle East since 2006.
In Baghdad, we continued to collaborate with the National Tuberculosis Institute, working on switching drug-resistant TB patients from injections to newer, more effective oral drugs.
Our teams also assisted the Iraqi health authorities with the response to COVID-19. We provided intensive care treatment, patient isolation (for mild and moderate cases), and health promotion campaigns to encourage vaccination. In all our regular activities, we implemented strict infection prevention and control measures to protect patients and staff from catching or spreading COVID-19.