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Iraq: “I just want my family to be together again and I don't want anything else to happen”

10 Jul 2018

Many war-wounded patients in Mosul – and in other post-conflict areas in Iraq such as Kirkuk, Anbar and Salaheddin – have endured months of agony waiting for follow-up care. They often received hasty surgery on or behind the frontlines to save their lives, and now they need additional surgery, pain management and physiotherapy to regain use of damaged limbs and muscles and to prevent losing more or all of their movement. Many people are also in need of urgent mental healthcare as they relive the violent trauma of the past and try to cope with the loss of loved ones. 

In Mosul, it’s been one year since the conflict officially ended. But the battle to rebuild the city and people’s lives is far from over. Large swathes of Mosul, particularly in the west, remain decimated. Mines and booby traps still ensnare homes and health facilities. Some people with no other option have returned to Mosul and live in their damaged homes, often without water and electricity. Poor hygiene conditions are increasing the risk of disease, and trauma injuries are a regular occurrence as people try to rebuild their houses in dangerous conditions.

Access to healthcare is a daily struggle with nine out of the 13 hospitals damaged in the conflict. The reconstruction of health facilities has been extremely slow and there are still only five beds per 10,000 people, well below the international minimum standards for health service delivery.

In 2017, MSF worked in and around Mosul to provide lifesaving services for people caught in the violence. We ran several trauma stabilisation posts in East and West Mosul, and managed four hospitals offering a range of services including emergency and intensive care, surgery and maternal healthcare. MSF currently runs a maternity hospital in west Mosul and a surgery and post-operative care facility for war-wounded patients in east Mosul.  

Following the return of people to the Hawija area, MSF opened a clinic in Al-Abassi for the treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCD) and mental health care. MSF rehabilitated the water supply systems in Al-Abassi and will do the same for Al-Shajera, which will provide clean drinking water for an estimated 35,000 people and prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. MSF also opened a primary health care clinic in Hawija city, which will soon offer NCD treatment, mental health services and sexual reproductive healthcare. As more people return to Hawija, MSF will provide emergency room services in the city’s hospital.