Baghdad, Iraq, 9 August 2020 – Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health, Iraq kick-started the second phase of the COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign in high-risk areas of Thi Qar and Missan south of Baghdad. Later in the month, the campaign whose theme is “Your health is important” will be rolled out to other governorates of Basra, Wasit, and to Sulaymaniyah, north of the capital Baghdad.
In Misan and Thi Qar, the campaign will run for 4 days starting from 9 August to 12 August 2020 and later in other governorates from 16 to 10 September 2020 in intervals of 4 days each of the southern provinces and for 9 days in Sulaymaniyah. Six hundred and fifty (650) community volunteers, including the community police working under the supervision of WHO’s implementing partners, United Iraqi Medical Society (UIMS), and Ministry of Youth and Sports, will support the campaign. These teams will distribute more than 360 000 Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, and personal protective equipment to approximately five million people in the five governorates. Others supporting this campaign are influential figures such as religious leaders, athletes, Iraqi artists, and journalists.
Together with our partners, we aim to reach as many people as possible in COVID-19 high-risk areas of Iraq with awareness messages on the pandemic. The five governorates were selected because of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in these areas. WHO and its partners want to see these numbers come down drastically; however, this is only possible when communities are aware of how the disease spreads and can be prevented,” said Dr. Adham Ismail, WHO Representative for Iraq.
Dr Ismail added that “Being armed with knowledge is essential, but having the tools to prevent the disease is another critical component, that’s why WHO and our partners will also give away facemasks, gloves, and sanitizers to ensure that the information is accompanied with the tools required to prevent this deadly virus.
Mobile screens, booths, and mobile medical clinics will be used to display educational videos and audio messages at selected community points. Television and Radio stations under the leadership of the Iraqi Communication and Media Commission CMC run daily messages on COVID-19 for one month. Personal protection packages containing masks, gloves, COVID-19 flyers will be distributed to people in public places, main streets, and markets.
On 16 July, the Government of Iraq re-opened its borders, including airports and malls, for commercial activities and trade. This community sensitization campaign goes a long way to reinforce earlier messages of how people can stay safer as border interactions resume. It also serves as a reminder to the population that COVID-19 is still a serious health problem.
This campaign is supported by the Government of Kuwait and the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). “WHO is thankful to these donors for their continued generosity in keeping the people of Iraq safe. We call on the population to do their part of regular handwashing with soap, frequent hand sanitizing, and wearing facemasks, avoid mass gatherings, and observe social distancing in all public areas,” concluded Dr Adham.
For further information, please contact:
Ms Baraa Shaba, WHO Communications Officer
+964 780 001 0244
Ms Pauline Loyce Ajello, WHO Communications Officer
+964 772 987 7288
Ms Ajyal Sultany, WHO Communications Officer
+964 7740 892 878 email@example.com