Restoring specialized medical care for returnee communities in west Anbar districts, Iraq

25 October 2018 – As part of its support to provide access to secondary health care services to returnee communities, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established and equipped a new emergency health care unit and an ambulance call centre in Ana district in the west of Anbar governorate.

The emergency unit that is annexed to Ana Hospital offers services that include treatment and stabilization of medical and surgical emergency cases, laboratory and referral services for 41000 returnees in Ana and Rawa districts and from neighbouring villages. It will reduce gaps in the delivery of secondary health care services by bringing emergency medical services closer to the people in need while the ambulance call centre will respond to emergency calls from patients who need immediate transfer to health facilities. The nongovernmental organization Dary, WHO’s implementing partner, is managing the facility.

The WHO initiative follows a request from the Anbar health authorities to restore and equip hospitals affected by the 3-year crisis in Iraq. In 2017, more than half of Anbar’s health infrastructure, including hospitals in Ana, Al-Qaim, Rawa, and Al-Obaidy districts, were looted and/or destroyed. As a result, many departments in Ana Hospital and in 3 other hospitals remain closed and more resources are required to reopen them.

WHO also supports the Ministry of Health in Iraq with medicines and other medical supplies and in strengthening primary health care services and human resources, which contributes to the prevention of noncommunicable diseases.

This marks a significant step towards the transition from emergency response to early recovery, reconstruction, and resilience-building to enable attaining regularity in health care service delivery, especially at this point in time in which the situation in conflict-affected parts of Iraq remains unpredictable, made worse by the destruction of primary health care facilities that remain closed to date.

WHO extends its gratitude to the United States Agency for International Development Office (USAID) and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) who have generously funded the project and supported the initiative.