Humanitarian Health Action

Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan 2016

The ongoing conflict within Iraq has had profound humanitarian consequences. Nearly one third of Iraq’s population – 10 million people – need help, and almost half (over 4.7 million) are children. Three million Iraqis have fled their homes and 3 million more live in areas no longer under government control.

Many displaced people are unable to return home, and are reliant on diminishing public and personal resources, further exacerbating tensions with host communities. Health service capacity in areas hosting internally displaced people is heavily overburdened by rapidly rising demands.

Throughout Iraq people struggle to find employment, secure housing, health care, food and safe drinking water. Trauma is widespread because of the violence, mass executions, systematic rape and torture used against communities. Depending on the intensity of fighting and scale of violence, the number of Iraqis needing some form of humanitarian assistance could increase to 13 million by the end of 2016. However, access to the most vulnerable people remains a key challenge, limiting the provision of life-saving assistance.

Health Sector Situation

Iraq’s health system is faltering because of the conflict, displacement and disease outbreaks. National health systems have been disrupted and infrastructure has been destroyed and looted. There is a widespread lack of essential medicines, medical supplies and nutritional supplements.

Hospitals and primary health-care clinics in some areas indicate a 50% increase in people seeking services due to the influx of displaced people. Funding shortages in mid-2015 caused significant and ongoing disruption of health services. Over 8 million people are estimated to be in critical need of essential healthcare services in 2016.

Compromised water and sanitation services combined with interrupted immunization programmes have created a high risk of disease. The early warning and disease control system and vaccination services have deteriorated due to diminished public funds. The national immunization coverage for measles is 57%, well below the required threshold of 90% to ensure protection against measles in the community. Since late 2015, Iraq has been experiencing a cholera outbreak and there is also an increased risk of typhoid, acute jaundice syndrome and measles.

Women and children are disproportionately affected by a severe reduction in health services. Pregnant and lactating women continue to face compromised access to reproductive health and referral services, to antenatal care and postnatal care and safe birthing practices.

Health Cluster Objectives

First line response: Save lives through provision of critical lifesaving health interventions reaching the most vulnerable people across Iraq.

Second line response: Support provision of essential health services through mental health and psychosocial support services; essential reproductive health care; essential nutritional services support to cold chain systems; promotion of routine vaccination; and ensuring a functional supply chain as well as stockpiling of essential medicines to primary health-care units.

Full cluster response: Provide a comprehensive package of emergency health-care services with a focus on transitioning toward support and recovery of the existing health-care system in crisis-affected areas.

Beneficiaries targeted by health partners in 2016

Health partners are targeting 7.1 million people including:

  • 2.9 million internally displaced people
  • 2.5 million people in host communities
  • 900 000 people in armed opposition group-controlled areas
  • 800 000 returnees

Geographical areas targeted by health partners in 2016

Humanitarian needs are concentrated in the western and northern parts of Iraq

Health Cluster funding requirements for 2016

US$ 83 739 344 (health partners including WHO)

WHO funding requirements for 2016

WHO is requesting a total of US$ 27 300 000