QRCS, IOM Work Together to Secure Medical Care in Iraq

News and Press Release
Originally published


September 27th, 2016 ― Doha: Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has signed a framework agreement with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to consolidate their partnership and strengthen cooperation for securing emergency health assistance for the crisis-affected populations in Iraq.

It was signed by QRCS Executive Director, Fahad Mohamed Al-Naimi, represented by Ahmed Al-Qahtani, Head of QRCS's delegation, and IOM Iraq Chief of Mission, Thomas Lothar Weiss.

The two-year MoU involves support of the Ministries of Health of the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, enhancement of the operational and technical capacities of local health services, and provision of comprehensive health care for most vulnerable groups, whether the internally displaced people (IDPs) or host communities.

Mr. Al-Qahtani said, "We consider this partnership to be among the most important strategies in our work. Emergency response operations in Mosul will require concerted humanitarian efforts. We look forward to further collaboration with IOM Iraq in heath, shelter, and WASH to provide assistance for displaced Iraqis".

Mr. Weiss said, "We are pleased to provide life-saving health services in cooperation with QRCS, to help the displaced Iraqis during this time of crisis. Responding to massive health and emergency needs requires cooperation from all humanitarian partners, and even greater commitments as displacement continues."

Currently, joint projects are in the process of consideration to launch a response to the imminent displacement of hundreds of thousands from Mosul. These efforts are funded by IOM and Qatar Development Fund, which is already funding several relief and humanitarian endeavors conducted by QRCS across Iraq.

The representatives of QRCS and IOM visited the Debaga IDP Camp, where the two organizations jointly operate a primary health care clinic, in coordination with the Erbil and Nineveh Directorates of Health, as well as the Health Cluster in Iraq.

Working 24/7, the health facility provides nearly 2,500 consultations every week for the most vulnerable IDPs.

Since its inception early in June, the clinic has served more than 35,000 cases (300-350 cases per day), mostly upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), diarrhea, skin diseases, hypertension, and diabetes. More than 500 patients needing specialized care have been referred to hospitals in Kirkuk and Erbil, many by ambulances.

The Debaga clinic offers comprehensive primary health care, including pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, dentistry, and X-ray, ultrasound, laboratory tests, and minor surgery. It is run and managed by 39 male and female health staff. QRCS pays the staff incentives, while IOM covers the clinic's operating costs.

The clinic's manager represents the Erbil Directorate of Health, which cooperates with the Nineveh Directorate of Health in jointly managing and supervising health services in Debaga.

Other active health partners in Debaga include United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Malteser International, Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA), and the Emirates Red Crescent (which established the Debaga clinic).

Since mid-June, more than 100,000 Iraqis fled the military operations in the Mosul corridor, to be added to the 3.3 million Iraqis already displaced nationwide since January 2014. As a result, the health needs of both IDPs and host communities were severely augmented.

Since June 2016, more than 18,000 Iraqis have arrived to camps in Makhmour district, southern Erbil, where the Debaga IDP Camp's population has rapidly increased in recent months to exceed 37,000.