29 November 2020, Baghdad Iraq - The Ministries of Health at the Federal and Kurdistan Region levels, launched, with the support of UNFPA and funding from Sweden, a helpline for adolescents and youth that provides free confidential counselling in Arabic and Kurdish languages.
Young people can receive reliable and age-appropriate information on mental health, reproductive health, adolescence and development, safe and healthy behaviours, nutrition. The counsellors also guide young people on how to prevent COVID-19. When needed the callers can be referred to youth-friendly clinical services. The helpline counsellors also provide information to young couples on family planning, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted infections.
The counsellors are health workers, selected by the Ministries, and trained by “Together to Protect the Human and the Environment Association” with support from UNFPA.
The helpline is provided by Asiacell, Korek and Zain telecommunication companies. It works from Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 10 pm.
● 80000111 for Arabic speakers
● 80000777 for Kurdish speakers
Commenting on the project, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, Dr Rita Columbia, said: “Many adolescents and young people withhold expressing their feelings. Often when young people are in emotional distress, they find it difficult to talk to people they know like their families and even their peers. The helpline can assist them with advice, and guide them through their emotions without judgment. Adolescents and youth in Iraq have lived through many crises and a lot of them are suffering from psychological repercussions. I truly hope that these services will make a positive difference in the lives of young people, especially now during this pandemic.”
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
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