Iraq

The Mesopotamian plains that today comprise much of modern-day Iraq, are a cradle of modern civilization. Many biblical scholars believe the Garden of Eden was located in what is today northern Iraq. The land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers became home to the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian Empires before falling in the course of time to the armies of Cyrus the Great of Persia, Alexander the Great, the Arabs, the Ottomans and finally, the British, who presided over the end of Iraq’s foreign domination and its eventual independence in 1932. A monarchy installed by Britain in the 1920s gave way to the Ba’ath Party in the 1960s, which held control until the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, International Medical Corps has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and other central ministries to address the needs of vulnerable populations. Our work includes the provision of primary and secondary health care and economic livelihoods training. Despite escalating levels of violence that gripped the country through the middle years of the decade, we worked in all 18 of the country’s governorates. We have renovated hospitals, expanded capacity in the Ministry of Health and other key government agencies, and provided emergency medical care development and continuing medical education and professional development. During periods of lessened violence, we assist with refugee returns and the returns of those displaced internally. We also have an established program in Iraq responding to Syrian refugees.

Read more about our Emergency Response in the Middle East

QUICK FACTS

  • Population

    Population
    32.5 Million

  • age

    Median Age
    21.5 Years

  • life

    Internally Displaced Persons
    1.9 million

  • life

    Fertility Rate
    3.41 children per mother

OUR PROGRAMS IN IRAQ

  • Population

    Emergency Medical Care Development

  • Population

    Primary and Secondary Health Care

  • Population

    Economic Livelihoods Training

  • Population

    Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development

  • Population

    Refugee Returns

CURRENT PROGRAMS

Emergency Medical Care Development

Emergency medicine is one of the core subjects in our program of continuing medical education and professional development of Iraqi health professionals. We conduct face-to-face training, telemedicine and distance learning.

Primary and Secondary Health Care

International Medical Corps has worked with the Ministry of Health and local organizations to improve primary and secondary health care through the rehabilitation of hospitals and local clinics, the supply of medical equipment and training of healthcare staff to administer primary health care and maternal and child health services through the mobile clinics, health posts and health centers we support.

We have also worked to establish improved referral pathways and clinical protocols, strengthened secondary and tertiary health care by boosting capacity of in-hospital care—especially emergency medical care systems through advocacy, technical support and policy development. International Medical Corps has also run programs on advanced practical training for hospital-based services including teaching the latest surgical procedures, best practices in medical and surgical case management, and the use of the latest technology in imaging and radiation therapy.

Economic Livelihoods Training

Because income is an essential element of maintaining good health, International Medical Corps has long considered livelihoods training within its purview. With Iraq's economy rebuilding after decades of neglect and years of armed conflict, we engaged in programs that helped build new skills, including the tools small business owners need to survive and become profitable in a free market economy. Then we created the opportunities for these entrepreneurs to use them. Examples of our work include renovating a bakery and training staff in Baghdad's sprawling Sadr City slum, renovating buildings and training staff for a sewing factory, a car repair and carpentry shops in Muthanna Province and an IT center in Baghdad.

Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development

International Medical Corps conducts advanced medical training for Iraqi health professionals under the Medical Education and Professional Development Program (I-MED). A group of our trainees were the first to complete a preliminary oncology radiation training course at the Basra Children’s Hospital. The program was modified into an extensive practical course to better fit the needs of practicing medical physicists and radiation therapists. We also established a short-term oncology training program for nurses working in oncology departments. International Medical Corps is working with members of the Iraqi Oncology Society to reactivate the organization and has formed a working group to establish a new Iraqi Medical Physics Society (IMPS).

In another effort to build professionalism, we renovated the headquarters of Iraq’s Anti-Tuberculosis Society, researched membership management software packages and provided physicians with PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) training. Together with Iraq’s Ministry of Health, we worked to make sure of the mandatory use of the Directly-Observed Therapy Short-Course (DOTS) in targeted primary health clinics. DOTS is a major component of the World Health Organization’s global TB eradication program. The program has since been expanded to other clinics.

Through the Continuing Professional Development Program (CME/CPD), we have provided training courses for healthcare professionals in Ear-Nose-Throat care, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Refugee Returns

International Medical Corps is assisting with the return of both Iraqi refugees and those internally displaced who had fled the violence that turned many Iraqi communities into sectarian or ethnic battlegrounds over a period of years after Saddam Hussein was toppled. We have strengthened the capacity of the Ministry of Displacement and Migration, which oversees a chain of Returnee Assistance Centers (RAC), by assisting returnees with registration for cash benefits, legal aid if needed to regain possession of abandoned property and physical protection. To help lower the potential for violence within communities, we have trained nearly 2,500 students in 12 schools on conflict mediation skills.