A Desire to Serve
From Mosul to Hamam Al-Alil
Dr Ebaa Shakir had successfully completed her medical studies at Mosul Medical College, in the city of ‘Two Springs’.
"With my graduation certificate in hand, I felt that I had begun on the path to my dream of making medical practice better in my beloved country of Iraq," the young woman recalls.
For a while, Ebaa served patients at different hospitals in Mosul. Every morning, she went to work with a smile and an excited spirit.
All that stopped one day when her beautiful city became home to war and suffering. Flowers were replaced with bullets and her smile was replaced with fear.
“I stayed optimistic about a better future, where this city would soon return to what it used to be in the past,” she says. “A city of science and etiquette, where nature’s beauty blends in harmony with the charm of its inhabitants.”
But Ebaa soon opened her eyes to the fear, pain and worry of the people around her – those sick without treatment, hungry without food and exposed without shelter. Her people had entered a dark tunnel, and even those who were lucky enough to pass through it would never be the same again.
Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was under control by ISIS for more than two years. Less than a year ago, government forces began an offensive to retake the city, leading to more violence and conflict and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes. Countless others were killed or injured.
International Medical Corps, with support from donors such as the European Union, have been at the very frontline, providing emergency healthcare and other services for those most in need.
Every particle of Ebaa wanted to extend an arm to help the people of her city, to do whatever she could. One day, she received news about an organisation hiring doctors to serve those displaced people now living in Hamam Al-Alil Clinic. The town, south of Mosul, hosts two large camps with more than 500,000 internally displaced people, fitting for the meaning of the town’s name - bath for the sick.
Ebaa put all her dreams and wishes into a CV and sent it off to the organisation. A few days later, she was accepted – which is how she started working with International Medical Corps to serve her people again. Although the battle of Mosul is over, the organisation continues to supply medical equipment, rehabilitate hospitals and local clinics and work with and train staff, including Ebaa, to meet the continuing needs in Iraq.
“Working with International Medical Corps had increased my sympathy toward human suffering and improved my personality,” Ebaa says. “Relieving the painful traumas of the sick and helping them heal; making them feel worthy, and telling them their lives matter, their pain matters, and their hopes and dreams matter now more than ever.