Scaling up health services to meet the needs of Syrian refugees in Iraq

from World Health Organization
Published on 12 Dec 2012 View Original

Baghdad, 12 December 2012 - WHO is scaling up activities to ensure provision of adequate health services to Syrians living inside Al Qaim and Domiz refugee camps and refugees living in Anbar, Dahuk, Suleimaniyah and Erbil governorates including readiness to respond to health challenges arising from the winter season.

"Around 65,000 women, children and elderly Syrian refugees living inside Iraq have the right to receive adequate health services" said Dr. Syed-Jaffar Ilussain, Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq.

The Ministry of Health, with technical support of WHO, is working to increase the capacity of health centres established within the camps to provide quality health care services. This is in addition to efforts being exerted by the Directorates of Health of Dahuk and Anbar governorates, hospitals and health centres already existing in the hosting communities and neighboring governorates to respond to the increasing number of refugees fleeing the ongoing violence in Syria, including handling the expected increase of cases of diseases that could be associated with low temperature in winter time such as acute respiratory infections and water borne diseases.

WHO is supporting relevant directorates of health in strengthening disease surveillance system and monitoring associated trends and the impact on the refugee population and host communities, especially communicable diseases. This will assist in generating timely alerts for the prevention of outbreaks in the camps. Health professionals working in the refugee camp clinics are also being trained on management of cases with chronic diseases in collaboration with other key partners such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) that is providing mental health care.

WHO and Medecins Sans Frontieres are also supporting the Ministry of Health in tracing Acute Respiratory !infections and Skin Infections, in addition to chronic illnesses that have become one of the main health concerns in the camps.

As part of the immediate response to the health care needs, WHO has supplied the governorate Dolls of Dohuk and Anbar with a total of 5 Interagency Emergency Humanitarian Kits (IEIIK) and 6 water testing kits. Each IFIIK is sufficient to cover the needs of 10,000 people for three months. For refugees suffering from chronic diseases, WHO is currently procuring additional specific medicines sufficient to cover the needs of 1,000 patients with different chronic diseases conditions for three months.

In one month, the health centre in Domiz camp alone, reported a total of 6,097 consultations, of which 2,221 are children under five years of age. Around 222 cases were referred to hospitals for specialized care.

"Although basic health services are available to refugees on a 24/7 basis, the increasing number of refugees arriving everyday are overburdening existing health services, highlighting the need for a more systemic approach in addressing health needs through delivery of quality services "Dr. Syed-Jaffar added.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Ruba Hikmat, Health Promotion and Education Officer, World Health Organization, Tel. +96279-5096066. hikmatr@intemro.whoint

Dr. Ezechiel Bisalinkumi, Technical Officer, Health Technologies and Pharmaceuticals, World Health Organization, +962 795053669 (bisalinkumie@iry.emro.whoint,

About WHO Iraq

WHO has been on the ground in Iraq since 1960. WHO through its various programmes is currently work on revitalizing, strengthening and sustaining the Iraqi health system based on primary health care.

WHO works with the Government and other partners to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals through improved access to quality health services, helping support the Government of Iraq in shaping health policy, and providing technical support in a multitude of programmes and areas like maternal and child health, adolescent and school health, nutrition, tackling communicable and non-communicable diseases, strengthening implementation of the International Health Regulations and mental health.