Mosul offensive highlights critical shortage of essential medicines in Iraqi Kurdistan - IHP launches urgent appeal

Report
from International Health Partners
Published on 20 Apr 2017

Unmet medical needs in Iraqi Kurdistan have reached a critical point according to medical donations charity International Health Partners (IHP). "People fleeing Mosul and Syria are in desperate need of access to quality medicine. Once they reach the safety of the camps they are able to receive some treatment, but acute and chronic cases are often left to the local government system to manage, and their shelves are empty," says IHP's CEO, Alex Harris, who recently returned from Iraqi Kurdistan. Over 300,000 Iraqis have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas in recent months.

This week the charity launched an urgent appeal for funding and medical donations, “The needs are immense across the region. Medicines we take for granted are often not available to patients in need of urgent medical attention. The government is doing what it can, but in some of its facilities up to 80% of their patients are refugees or internally displaced people (IDP), which is placing a lot of strain on the system. We are calling on our generous donors to give what they can so that we can send life-saving essential medicines,” says Harris.

IHP is working with local partner, Bring Hope, to distribute medical aid across Iraqi Kurdistan, both in the refugee and IDP camps, and the local hospitals and clinics. There is a huge need for medicines and medical equipment. Kurdistan is currently hosting approximately two million refugees and displaced people, including 300,000 Syrian refugees.

IHP medicines that have reached the region are having a positive impact. Hameeda fled Mosul three years ago and set up a shop in Harsham camp for displaced people, “I am not young and I have several health problems. At the clinic they’ve been able to provide me with the different medicines I need. They give me water pills for my hypertension, aspirin for my heart and statins for my cholesterol. I’m not sure what I would do without the clinic,” she says.

“It’s great that we are seeing some impact, but it isn’t enough,” explains Harris. The current economic crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan has had a big impact on health facilities and services. Coupled with the surge of refugees and the displaced people coming from within Iraq and Syria, it is proving very challenging for the government to treat people with the medicines they need.

"We are treating far more people than before as a result of the conflict" said a pharmacist at West Erbil Emergency Hospital, the main facility treating patients who have escaped from eastern Mosul. Staff at the hospital are seeing many more injuries to civilians caused by explosions.

IHP is asking its donors to give generously to help the charity to reach thousands of patients who are currently without access to medicine.

To learn more and donate, please log on www.ihpuk.org.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

For pictures and/or an interview with Alex Harris, contact Sophia Jones on Tel: 020 3735 5758 or Cell: 07802 501698 and email: s.jones@ihpuk.org

About IHP

IHP coordinates the safe and responsible donation of medical products from the healthcare industry to those who would otherwise have no access in the developing world. We are the largest coordinator of donated medical product in Europe, with a strong network of healthcare industry donors. We respond rapidly to humanitarian disasters, support long-term healthcare development projects in developing countries and equip doctors with supplies for short-term overseas medical missions. As an independent intermediary we bridge the gap between healthcare companies—who want to be generous—and humanitarian agencies who depend on generosity.

IHP is working with The Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation, a local NGO that provides humanitarian aid to those in need in northern Iraq in collaboration with local, national and international organisations.