Improved rehabilitation services for people with disabilities in Nasiriya

Geneva/Baghdad (ICRC) – The new Nasiriya physical rehabilitation centre opened today will treat 500 patients a year, providing them with artificial limbs and rehabilitation services. The ICRC has built the centre in coordination with the Iraqi health authorities. "This is the first health ministry centre with dormitories for patients, allowing patients to stay long enough to receive proper treatment," explained Jantien Faber, head of the ICRC's physical rehabilitation programme in Iraq. "In future, the centre will also provide in-service training for physiotherapists and for prosthetic and orthotic technicians."

Fifteen staff will work at the centre, supported by two ICRC physical rehabilitation specialists who will train them and assist the patients. "Southern Iraq is littered with unexploded munitions, which cause a large number of casualties. This new centre will help reduce the workload of the existing centre in Basra," added Faber.

Nasiriya physical rehabilitation centre is the second built by ICRC water and sanitation engineers in Iraq, following completion of the Falluja centre in 2008. The organization trains staff and donates equipment, supporting 11 such centres across the country, including the ICRC-run centre in Erbil. The ICRC also supports the Iraqi institute for prosthetics and orthotics and a workshop that manufactures crutches.

35,000 people with a disability have benefited from ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation services in Iraq since 1993. In addition to providing rehabilitation, the ICRC issues grants to selected disabled people who are heading households, enabling them to start small businesses and restore their dignity. Finally, in Missan governorate (southern Iraq), ICRC weapon contamination specialists clear unexploded ordnance where communities are at risk.