Where We Work

Iraq

Syria Crisis

The crisis continues in its eighth year

Years of armed conflict, sectarian violence and political instability have forced nearly 10 percent of Iraq’s 37 million people from their homes—often more than once.

International Medical Corps was among the first international NGOs to establish lifesaving humanitarian programs in Iraq in the wake of the 2003 US-led invasion. We have been there ever since and have assisted those in need in all 18 of the country’s governorates. Since 2014, our efforts have focused on meeting the needs of Syrian refugees and conflict-affected Iraqis in northern and central Iraq as we respond to ongoing violence and insecurity.

POPULATION

37 million

SYRIAN REFUGEES

240,000 

IN NEED OF HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

8.7  million

Syria Crisis

Now on its eighth year, the Syrian war continues to inflict incomprehensible levels of suffering on civilians and fuel the largest displacement crisis in the world today.

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The Challenges

Armed Conflict

Violence and armed conflict is widespread in Iraq and has left an estimated 8.7 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

Population Displacement

Conflict has left more than 2.6 million Iraqis displaced within their own country. Many of them have been displaced more than one.

Returnees

More than 3.5 million Iraqis have returned to their places of origin between early 2014 and early 2018.

Our Response

Health Care

Our teams provide direct assistance to those who need it most, while bolstering local health systems and their capacity to deliver services in camp and non-camp settings – all within the framework of the United Nations Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan.

In the Kurdish Region of Iraq, we offer primary health care and basic reproductive health services in refugee camps and camps for internally displaced Iraqis in Erbil, Dohuk, and Sulimaniyah governorates. We also support displaced individuals and families living in hard-to-reach or underserved areas through our mobile medical units (MMUs).

Elsewhere in Iraq, we support local primary health care clinics in and around Mosul with medicines, physical repairs, staff training and other inputs that enable them to once again provide care to residents after three years of Islamic State control. In other parts of Ninewa governorate we operate primary health care clinics in camps that are home to tens of thousands of people who were forced from their homes in the battle for control of Mosul and the surrounding area. At the same time, we support mobile and static health facilities in Baghdad, Anbar, Kirkuk and Salahaddin governorates while retaining the flexibility to expand services to new areas should crises arise.

Community Health

Our Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide the essential link between patients and primary health care service providers – generating the outreach to those who otherwise might be unable to access the services we support. Our staff also conducts disease surveillance and promotes both health awareness and good health habits in at-risk communities.

Our CHWs undergo comprehensive training to boost their understanding of common disease education messages and simple case definitions. With this knowledge, they go tent-to-tent in camps, and door-to-door in other areas as part of our integrated primary health care program. At least half of our CHWs are women, with those locally recruited helping us gain greater acceptance within their communities—an acceptance that makes residents more receptive to our messaging on such issues as the importance of education and the need for cultural sensitivities.

Gender-based Violence

International Medical Corps is a principal implementer of gender-based violence prevention and response programs in Iraq. Our experience has shown that community-led initiatives are vital. They help develop meaningful messaging for the local population and are key to engaging the government and community leaders required to achieve lasting impact. We mentor those interested in actively supporting GBV prevention and response and raising awareness of available services and the consequences of GBV. In partnership with local organizations, we provide psychosocial activities in community centers and safe spaces, as well as GBV case management support. International Medical Corps’ GBV referral system is linked to our primary health care network ensuring integrated care. In hard-to-reach areas, GBV services are included into Mobile Medical Units, enabling the GBV teams to work closely with the community health teams. GBV outreach workers run community-based prevention and response campaigns, identify vulnerable women and girls, inform them of available services and make referrals if needed.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

International Medical Corps places a particular priority on the availability of integrated MHPSS services for internally displaced Iraqis. This emphasis is due to the shortage of many of these services within Iraq and the gap in availability that separates basic and community-centered mental health care from important related support services.

To fill this gap, International Medical Corps provides integrated mental health services that include case management, outreach through outreach and community health workers, as well as psychiatric consultations. We use both clinic and community-based entry points through house-to-house outreach as well as direct linkages with primary health care service points. In addition, we provide training for our staff, Department of Health personnel and other service-providers in mhGAP as well as a technique used in crisis settings known as Psychological First Aid (PFA). At the national level, International Medical Corps also supports the Ministry of Health in developing and implementing a national MHPSS strategy.

Junior Community Health Workers in Iraq

Hear from three kids about their experience working with our Junior Community Health Worker program in Iraq.

Our Impact

2.1 million
International Medical Corps is making health care and other vital services available to a population of more than 2.1 m people across eight governorates
2003-Present
Provide lifesaving relief to residents of Iraq’s all 18 governorates since 2003

Home Is Where One Starts From

International Medical Corps developed a series of comic books for children displaced by the conflict in Syria and Iraq in order to teach them important messages about disease prevention, safety in camps and about how to promote their well-being. The comic book Going Home Again tells the story of a Syrian boy named Ahmed who is forced to flee from his village after fighting breaks out and a military plane drops bombs on his neighborhood.

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