International Medical Corps is bolstering efforts to provide additional humanitarian assistance to an estimated 1.8 million Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have fled their homes since the beginning of 2014. The violent conflict continues to be dynamic with frontlines changing frequently. Displaced people continue to move into Kurdistan; however, entry into this region is becoming increasingly difficult.
Having operated in Iraq since 2003, International Medical Corps is well placed to immediately deliver a comprehensive emergency response, including relief and medical supplies to those displaced by the violence. The organization is deploying mobile medical units to increase access to primary health care and emergency health services, delivering medical supplies to hospitals struggling to cope with increased caseloads, and preparing for longer-term threats to the health system, such as disease outbreaks. To date, International Medical Corps has:
- Provided 14,475 medical consultations in three IDP camps, including Baharka, Khazir, and Garmawa
- Supported 50 Directorate of Health (DOH) nurses who have attended to 115, 323 patients, of which 49, 563 were IDPs
- Supported 28 ambulances operating in Dohok and one in Erbil
- Delivered medication to benefit an estimated 54,000 beneficiaries in 11 locations
- Supported 8 mobile medical teams that have provided at least 5,600 consultations in locations of urgent need
In Erbil, International Medical Corps continues to be the only health service provider in Baharka IDP Camp by providing both health and mental health services six days a week through a primary health clinic. The clinic sees an average of 100 patients per day and has provided 3,491 consultations to date. International Medical Corps hired a psychiatrist to work in the camp three days per week but his services will soon expand to other camps. Teams are gearing up to support five ambulances in Baharka camp. This will allow 24-hour referrals to be provided to hospitals for emergency cases. As the size of the camp population is expected to continue increasing in the coming months, International Medical Corps is preparing to expand the size of the current facilities and recruit new staff. Also, International Medical Corps recently established two Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) in Erbil which have provided 470 consultations to Syrian refugee populations in urban areas and IDP settlements.
In Dohuk, where an estimated 543,000 IDPs have sought shelter, International Medical Corps and the DoH have been discussing the possibilities of resuming the provision of PHC services in Garmawa camp. International Medical Corps will be working to increase its capacity in Dohuk to meet the increased demands in the governorate.
Child Protection is a growing concern as determined by a recent assessment and service mapping conducted by International Medical Corps. International Medical Corps has trained 52 people from local NGOs in Ninewa and Kirkuk in various Child Protection topics as well as Monitoring and Reporting Mechanisms (MRM). Another five organizations in Kirkuk were trained on conducting Child Friendly Space activities. International Medical Corps will continue to provide follow up support for these organizations in establishing Child Friendly Spaces within their organizations in Kirkuk.
International Medical Corps will begin programs shortly in mental health and gender-based violence.
For more than a decade, International Medical Corps has worked closely with Iraqi central government ministries and regional authorities to address the needs of the most vulnerable. At the height of a violent anti-government insurgency and a campaign of sectarian fighting between Shia and Sunni Muslims in 2006-2007, International Medical Corps was the only international medical relief organization assisting thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs). In addition to the emergency response operation described above, International Medical Corps continues to provide gender-based violence services, community outreach activities, and community reconciliation projects as part of its ongoing programming in Iraq.