The challenges and our response
Years of armed conflict, sectarian violence and political instability have forced nearly 10 percent of Iraq’s 36 million people from their homes—often more than once.
Nearly a million people were displaced as a result of the battle for control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city that fell to the Islamic State, or ISIS. More than 10 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. Access to many families remains a constant challenge, as fighting and instability continue and parts of the country are still held by ISIS.
Health Care: In the Kurdish Region of Iraq, we provide primary health care and basic reproductive health services in refugee camps and camps for internally displaced Iraqis in the Erbil, Dohuk, and Ninewa governorates. We also look to support those in out of camp settlements in hard-to-reach or underserved areas through our mobile medical units (MMUs) in both the Kurdish Region as well as South Central Iraq—specifically Baghdad and Anbar governorates. We are running medical clinics in displacement camps and supporting primary health care centres south and and east of Mosul to support families who were forced to flee their homes.
Community Health Workers: Recruited from the communities we serve, community health workers (CHWs) are trained to provide basic educational material and messaging on common diseases. They go tent-to-tent in camps and door-to-door in urban areas and hard-to-reach villages in Baghdad, Erbil, Dohuk, Anbar and Ninewa governorates to connect families to our primary health, mental health and gender-based violence services. They also conduct disease surveillance, promote health awareness and encourage visits to available health care services among those living in risk-prone communities.
Protection Services: We work with local partner organisations to provide psychosocial activities in safe spaces for women and girls as well as gender-based violence (GBV) case management support. We link these activities closely with our primary health care network, ensuring that those in need have access to a variety of services, including medical care and mental health support, even in hard-to-reach areas through MMUs. At the same time, 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 provides mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) services as part of basic general health care for displaced populations across Iraq. We offer mental health care in our MMUs and primary health care facilities, while also using house-to-house outreach to link people with our clinic-based services. We also train Department of Health personnel, health care providers, and other first responders in Psychological First Aid (PFA), a technique used to ensure people who have experienced highly stressful or traumatic events are received in a compassionate and culturally sensitive way.
Social counselling, legal referrals and vocational training: With funding from the Canadian Government, International Medical Corps is establishing two multi-service centres in Iraq where people can access a range of health, mental health and psychosocial services. This includes general medical consultations, mental health and psychosocial counselling, GBV case management and recreational and skills-building activities like hairdressing, tailoring, photography, baking and cosmetology.