Improved healthcare for refugees in northern Iraq

29.08.2017 – Medical care for refugees and IDPs is improving thanks to new and expanded health centres in northern Iraq.

Those fleeing the so-called Islamic State have had to leave almost everything behind: around 250,000 Syrian refugees and over one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are seeking refuge in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. Providing medical care to so many people is a major challenge, with facilities and trained staff in short supply.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is working with local authorities to improve healthcare provision. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), six health centres have been built to provide medical care to people in the camps and surrounding communities. This free treatment benefits 80,000 people. Refugees and IDPs with medical training also work at the centres.

However, adequate treatment facilities are also required for acute emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes. In October 2017, building work will commence to extend the accident and emergency unit at Azadi Hospital in Dohuk. The building work, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, will increase the unit’s treatment capacity from 500 to 4,000 patients.

GIZ is working locally with various partners to support refugees and host communities as quickly as possible. In collaboration with the relief agency Malteser International, for example, 2,000 women in three camps have been trained to work as health advisors. This work allows them to earn an income for themselves and their families, and to share information about hygiene, health and nutrition with other people in the camps.