Kurdistan Regional Government
SAT, 17 MAR 2018 21:15 Erbil, GMT +3

KRG Ministry of Health: More health services needed for IDPs

MON, 29 SEP 2014 03:26 | KRG Cabinet

Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq (KRG.org) – International health organisations need to provide medicine and medical equipment to ensure necessary vaccination and health services reach all internally displaced people, particularly in the Governorate of Duhok, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Health.

Dr Dara Koshnaw, Director General at the KRG Ministry of Health, told KRG.org that health conditions in the refugee camps are fair and no disease outbreaks have so far been reported. However, he said, "The situation remains alarming due to sanitation and the bad hygienic situation." He added that the Ministry of Health is "taking all possible measures to minimize the risk of the spread of epidemic diseases".

In the Duhok governorate, where most of the Iraqi IDPs and Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region have taken refuge, the relevant organisations are working to ensure the provision of clean water and proper sanitation measures, using chlorine tablets in the water distribution network.

Dr. Dara Khoshnaw noted that the Ministry of Health has provided mobile clinic teams to visit the location of the displaced people and refugees on a daily basis to provide the necessary medical services. He said, "Mobile vaccination and public health surveillance teams have been set up. The required health services are provided fully free of charge and equally to all internally displaced people and refugees. In the Duhok governorate, specifically in the Khanki, Sharia and Batel camps, the health centers are functioning on a 24-hour basis."

In order for the displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees to more easily access health services, the Ministry of Health has made sure that the hospitals and health centers in the Duhok governorate are available to these groups free of charge.

The Ministry of Health official said, "The local authorities in each governorate have hired specialized cleaning companies for sanitation in the camps, inspected and monitored by the ministry."

Based on the report of the ministry's inspectors, which suggests that more attention should be given to sanitation and proper and regular cleaning activities, the Ministry of Health has outlined plans for prevention and intervention in case of outbreaks.
To this end, Dr Khoshnaw said that his ministry has adopted "an active monitoring and early warning system through mobile teams to predict any suspected outbreak”.

He added, "It has also launched a vaccination campaign against polio and measles. In August alone, around 65,000 children less than five years of age were vaccinated against polio and 10,000 children between six months and 15 years old were vaccinated against measles."

Dr Khoshnaw said that the ministry has also started running mass health education and awareness campaigns with mobile health education teams continuously visiting the displaced people and refugees.

He added that their teams also provide "effective and timely treatment of any reported case to prevent the possibility of any epidemic disease from spreading”.

Dr Khoshnaw lauded the role of international health organisations for the support they have provided thus far to the Kurdistan Region. However, he warned that more help is needed. He also called on donor countries and other organisations to provide more medicines and medical equipment, especially antibiotics, analgesics, anesthesia, but also medicines for chronic diseases, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart failure and hepatitis.

In an earlier statement to KRG.org, Duhok Governor Farhad Atrushi also called upon the United Nations to expedite efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the displaced, particularly the construction of camps and the provision of health services.

According to a joint UN-KRG statement published this month, 64 percent of the 850,000 internally displaced Iraqis who have fled to the Kurdistan Region since January 2014 have sought refuge in the Duhok governorate.