Focus on health

Project description

Title: Improvement of health care for internally displaced persons, refugees and the local people in Dohuk Province in Northern Iraq
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Iraq
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning of the Kurdistan Regional Government
Overall term: 2016 to 2019



Around one million internally displaced persons and 250,000 Syrians have sought refuge in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis and the advance of so-called Islamic State. Hosting such a large number of internally displaced persons and refugees has put the heath care system under enormous strain. Many of these people are also traumatised by their experiences of displacement. The Kurdish authorities do not have sufficient internal capacity to provide all the affected people with medical and psychosocial care.


Internally displaced persons, refugees and the population in the host communities in Dohuk Province receive better medical and psychosocial care.


In collaboration with the local authorities, the project team is working on improving health care provision for internally displaced persons, refugees and residents of the host communities.

In 2015, as part of the predecessor project, six basic health care centres were established and equipped in various camps and two hospitals were extensively renovated. Activities are now being expanded to include construction work and provision of medical equipment. Four of the basic health care centres in the camps are operated by non-governmental organisations that work closely with the health authority. A large part of the operator’s workforce and many of the medical staff are recruited from among the internally displaced persons and refugees in the camps. The health care centres offer free basic medical care to residents in the camps and the surrounding communities.

Emergency care in the Azadi teaching hospital in Dohuk is being expanded so that the health system is better prepared to deal with urgent situations. With the newly built extension there is now additional capacity for patient care, and the provision of medical devices means that emergency patients will be better looked after in future. The emphasis is on treating serious accidents, heart attacks and strokes.Needs analysis is being carried out so as to determine the areas in which medical staff require training and to offer the necessary courses. The focus is also on training hospital managers and psychosocial care specialists.

Dr Amira Haussain measures her patient’s blood pressure in the Kabarto camp. Photos: Fabian Schwan-Brandt


Three basic health care facilities in various camps are currently being given financial support. The partner organisations MEDAIR and International Medical Corps (IMC) have been contracted to manage these facilities. This temporarily ensures that around 50,000 internally displaced persons are receiving basic care. Kurdish non-governmental organisation Heevie has been contracted since January 2017 to operate a further basic health station that provides temporary basic medical care for an additional 10,000 internally displaced persons and refugees. A maternity unit was set up in the Karbarto camp and has been in operation since the middle of 2016.

22 health authority officials at various levels and hospital administration staff have attended a four-month training course on health management. A further six experts have been trained on the health information system.