Humanitarian Health Action

Iraq health news and feature stories


  • 16 June 2016

    Improving lives and health in Qushtapa refugee camp, Iraq

    BAGHDAD -- Beginning of Ramadan. In the dry heat of the morning, the streets are deserted except in front of Qushtapa refugee camp primary health centre. Several people are sitting on benches in front of the facility, some are staring blankly. A doctor appears at the doorway of the centre and gesticulates to patients whose faces light up at the knowledge that here they will be treated well and receive the care that they need.

  • 16 June 2016

    WHO expresses concern over disease outbreaks in its response to Fallujah crisis

    BAGHDAD -- WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ala Alwan arrived in Baghdad yesterday to review firsthand WHO’s response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Fallujah city, where more than 42 000 Iraqis have been displaced since the beginning of the military operations in the city in May 2016. Tens of thousands of besieged and displaced men, women, children and older people face major health risks as they lack adequate access to health services.

  • 6 June 2016

    “We came with nothing, we have nothing”: thousands flee Fallujah as fighting intensifies

    BAGHDAD -- The UN and partners are in a race against time to provide life-saving assistance to people fleeing escalating violence in Anbar, particularly around the battle for Fallujah. On 5 June, UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Health Organization (WHO) travelled to a series of camps established to receive people escaping the violence. In the past 10 days, approximately 10 000 people have come to these camps to seek safety and services. An estimated 50 000 people remain trapped in the city as the military offensive continues.

  • 23 March 2016

    Iraq's 2015 response to cholera outbreak minimizes future risk

    Baghdad, Iraq – After the declaration of a cholera epidemic in Iraq in September 2015, and in anticipation of a potential new outbreak, WHO, UNICEF and the Ministry of Health of Iraq, jointly with water and sanitation and health cluster partners held a consultation today to review lessons learnt and best practices from the successful 2015 response to the outbreak. Consultations such as these will help guide cholera contingency plans for 2016 and beyond.

  • 13 March 2016

    Mobile medical clinics connect patients to health care in camps in Iraq

    Amira, aged 5, from Ramadi City, Iraq, is one of the tens of thousands refugees and migrants in need of health care. The arrival of a mobile primary health care clinic is giving her a reason to smile. “I was sick and I was afraid of what could happen to me. The mobile clinic staff provided me with a sense of protection. I now have the strength to help my family, think about my future and I sure can’t wait to go back to school,” she said.

  • 10 February 2016

    Iraq: WHO and Ministry of Health endorse joint action to meet health needs and challenges

    Baghdad, Iraq -- WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ala Alwan is meeting senior health officials from the Ministry of Health in Baghdad and local and international health partners to discuss a number of emerging health needs and challenges in the country. The Regional Director and Her Excellency the Minister of Health Dr Adila Hammoud have discussed and endorsed a joint WHO/Ministry of Health biennial cooperation plan for 2016–2017.

  • 20 January 2016

    New delivery rooms in camps for the internally displaced save the lives of mothers and babies

    Every mother wants the birth of their child to be a positive and joyful memory but current crises have hampered the access of most women to delivery rooms in Al-Habanyia tourist city and Al-Khaldia district in Ramadi City. To increase access to services and to provide every mother with the opportunity of a healthy start for her newborn child, Al-Anbar Department of Health, WHO and the United Nations Population Fund have established 2 delivery rooms in these 2 districts. The facilities are providing reproductive health care services to women of childbearing age and will ensure that 5150 internally displaced families in Al-Habanyia tourist city and 12 000 families in Al-Khaldia district have access to such services.


  • 12 November 2015

    Iraq completes round one of oral cholera vaccination campaign

    This week, the Government of Iraq, with the support of WHO and UNICEF, completed the first round of the oral cholera vaccination campaign. The campaign has vaccinated 91% of the targeted population the targeted 255 000 Syrian refugees and internally displaced Iraqis across 62 refugee and IDP camps in 13 governorates. The turnout was very high with no refusals or concerns raised regarding the vaccine. A second round will begin in December to administer a second dose to ensure protection against cholera for 5 years or more.

  • 4 November 2015

    WHO vaccination campaign in Iraq

    Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated due to severe dehydration. An oral cholera vaccine campaign in Iraq, consisting of 2 rounds of vaccines, is a key measure to help contain and control the outbreak. The Iraq government campaign, supported by WHO and UNICEF, reached over 232 000 displaced people above 1 year of age who were defined as high risk groups, based on a public health risk assessment in 62 camps for refugees and internally displaced persons. Of Iraq’s 18 governorates, 17 have reported laboratory confirmed cases. This campaign is part of the cholera response strategy to prevent the further spread of the disease in high-risk areas and to avert a potentially large-scale cholera outbreak in the country’s more vulnerable camps.

  • 27 October 2015

    ECHO increases support to health programmes in Iraq providing life-saving care to hundreds of thousands of people affected by the conflict

    Life-saving health programmes in Iraq have been given a cash lifeline allowing them to provide critical care to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis affected by the conflict in the governorates of Anbar, Kirkuk, Salah El-Din and Baghdad.

  • 4 August 2015

    Health services shut down as funding shortfall cripples humanitarian operations in Iraq

    A severe funding shortfall has led to the closure of 84% of health programmes supported by humanitarian partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), in Iraq, leaving almost 3 million people without access to urgently needed heath care services.

  • 19 June 2015

    One grandmother’s story of displacement this World Refugee Day

    The 20th of June is World Refugee Day; a time to reflect on the challenges facing the more than 60 million people around the world who have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict and other disasters. This includes Hayat Yasin, a 75-year-old grandmother from Iraq. Mrs Yasin was forced to flee her home when violence erupted in her home town in the Sinjar Mountains. She also has high blood pressure.

  • 4 June 2015

    WHO Director-General describes "horrific" health situation in Iraq

    Keynote address at a high-level event to launch the new humanitarian response plan for Iraq 4 June 2015 by the Director-General of the World Health Organization Margaret Chang

  • 27 May 2015

    Urgent funding needed to prevent imminent closure of health care projects in Iraq

    If urgently needed funds are not secured by the end of June 2015, more than 84% of health care projects serving populations in need in Iraq will be forced to close. If this happens, more than 3 million refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities will not have access to the treatment and care that these projects provide.

  • 26 May 2015

    WHO and UNICEF launch vaccination campaign to keep Iraq polio free

    Baghdad | Erbil -- A mass polio vaccination campaign, aiming to target 5.7 million children under the age of 5, began in Iraq on 24 May. The campaign will be conducted in all governorates to maintain the country's polio-free status. The last case of polio was reported on 7 April 2014; a 34-month-old girl from the Rasafa district of Baghdad.

  • 24 May 2015

    WHO support to internally displaced people in Anbar, Iraq

    As the exodus of thousands of families from Anbar to Baghdad and different parts of the country continues, a new life began when on the morning of 19 May, a 25-year-old internally displaced woman from Ramadi City gave birth to a healthy baby at Bzebiz Bridge, the crossing point between Anbar and Baghdad. While both mother and baby were fine, the incident highlighted the plight of the approximately 25 000 people displaced from their homes in Ramadi, who in the search for an area offering safe refuge, are unable to access essential health services.

  • 21 May 2015

    WHO Regional Director calls for respect and safety for health care workers and facilities

    In a speech at a side meeting "A tribute to health workers" at the World Health Assembly, Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, called for respect and safety for health care workers and facilities and paid tribute to the invaluable, and often dangerous work, health and aid workers undertake. He began by paying tribute to the hundreds of health care workers in West Africa, who on the frontline in the battle against Ebola, had contracted the disease. Many had died while helping to save the lives of others.

  • 3 March 2015

    At almost one year polio free, Iraq continues national polio vaccination campaigns

    A national polio vaccination campaign commenced in Iraq on 22 February 2015 aiming to reach 5.9 million children under five years old regardless of their previous vaccination status. In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, children from 9 months to 5 years will also be given a measles vaccine, in addition to the oral polio vaccine.

  • 7 Februay 2015

    Mobile clinics bring health services to communities in need

    In December, 2014, WHO handed over 12 mobile medical clinics to the Federal Ministry of Health of Iraq and the Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan region to support the provision of primary health care services in under served areas housing populations in need. Funding for the clinics was provided by Saudi Arabia. The project forms part of WHO's broader objective of providing a timely basic package of primary and secondary health care services, including reproductive and mental health services, care for people with physical disabilities and patients with chronic diseases, and nutrition services.

  • 22 January 2015

    WHO provides support to hearing impaired children in Iraq

    WHO and the Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan Regional Government have provided cochlear implants to 20 internally displaced and refugee children in Iraq between the ages of 1 and 6.

  • January 2015

    WHO delivers emergency health kits to Dhuluiya in Salah Aldin

    Erbil -- To serve the population that has been under siege for seven months and minimize the challenges they face in terms of limited access to health care and lack of life saving medicines, WHO delivered five basic units of interagency emergency health kits to the Dhuluiya district in the Salah Aldin governorate. The kits, delivered on 8 January 2015, contained medicines sufficient to cover the needs of 5000 people for three months.

  • 6 January 2015

    No Ebola cases detected in Iraq

    Baghdad, Iraq - The Ministry of Health in Iraq, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), confirms that there is no suspected case of Ebola virus disease in Iraq as of 5 January 2015.


  • 11 December 2014

    Eight purpose-built mobile medical clinics arrive in Erbil, Iraq

    Erbil, Iraq – The World Health Organization (WHO) and World Food Programme (WFP) have collaborated to deliver eight mobile medical clinics which arrived in Erbil today. These urgently needed clinics will be immediately deployed to parts of Iraq and the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The vehicles, flown in from Amman, Jordan, were procured by WHO and have been purpose-built to address the health needs of displaced populations residing in places with limited access to health care services – in camps, informal settlements and urban areas across the country. The clinics were made possible through the support of the Government of Saudi Arabia and are the first of their kind to be brought to Iraq to accelerate response efforts.

  • 10 November 2014

    WHO accelerates winter preparedness plans

    Erbil, 10 November 2014. With the onset of winter and cold-related illnesses such as pneumonia, measles and acute respiratory infections (ARIs), an estimated 1.8 million internally displaced Iraqis dread the next few months and the impact of winter on their lives in the camps and informal shelters. Limited access to health services has increased the vulnerability of the displaced populations, particularly the most vulnerable such as children, elderly and people suffering from chronic diseases, including asthma and other upper respiratory infections. To fill these identified health gaps, WHO has appealed for US$ 23 million to cover cost of essential health supplies and the recruitment of qualified health personnel.

  • 3 November 2014

    As the humanitarian situation in Iraq deteriorates, the health needs of the 1.8 million internally displaced persons in the country are rising, particularly in the Kurdistan Region and Anbar. Mass population movement within the country and from the neighboring Syria poses a risk of potential disease outbreaks such as polio and measles among the displaced people.

  • September 2014

    WHO responding to health crises caused by large-scale population displacements in Iraq

    Intensified conflict has sparked a massive displacement of people across Iraq, posing a wide range of health threats. WHO and partners are responding to this crisis by controlling disease outbreaks, supplying medicines and strengthening hospitals, clinics and the health workforce.

  • 2 September 2014

    Amid ongoing conflict, Iraq completes massive polio campaign for children with support of UNICEF and WHO

    Despite the ongoing conflict, violence and displacement across Iraq, a mass polio immunization campaign succeeded reaching 3.75 out of 4 million children under the age of 5. The five-day campaign 10 - 14 August was organized by Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). The campaign comes at a time when the number of displaced children continues to increase and approximately 65 000 internally displaced children were vaccinated in the Kurdish Duhok governorate alone.

  • 21 August 2014

    Saudi Arabia's $49 million donation helps to provide health care to Iraqis

    WHO has received about $49 million from Saudi Arabia for its operations to help the people of Iraq. Thousands of Iraqis have been displaced by attacks carried out by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Many of the displaced people have been exposed to harsh conditions without adequate healthcare services. Paul Garwood, WHO spokesperson in Geneva tells Patrick Maigua that the health sector in Iraq was already facing challenges even before the current conflict.

  • 18 August 2014

    Saudi Arabia supports WHO's response to the Iraq crisis

    Erbil - Humanitarian health services in Iraq have received a much-needed boost through a $US 50 million grant provided by Saudi Arabia to WHO for its response to the health crisis facing millions of people affected by the ongoing conflict in Iraq.

  • 12 August 2014

    WHO responds to health challenges facing people trapped on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar

    The World Health Organization is supporting the delivery of urgently needed health services to people affected by insecurity in northern Iraq, including tens of thousands of children, women and men trapped on Sinjar Mountain and many more who have escaped to safer areas.

  • 6 July 2014

    WHO supports health response for internally displaced Iraqis in Dohuk

    The governorate of Dohuk in Iraq’s Kurdistan region has seen its population increase by almost 20% over the past three years, hosting more than half of the country’s Syrian refugees in the country and receiving an additional 200 000 internally displaced Iraqis in June 2014.

  • 5 July 2014

    WHO provides urgently needed health supplies to internally displaced populations in Iraq

  • 27 June 2014

    WHO responds to increasing risk of cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases in Iraq

    The current crisis in Iraq presents major challenges for the control of disease outbreaks. As a result of the recent violence and resulting internal displacement of more than 500 000 people to the Kurdistan region of Iraq, there is increased risk of outbreaks due to strains on housing, water supply and sanitation. As the summer season sets in, water insecurity in camps hosting internally displaced persons may also contribute to increased episodes of epidemic diarrhoeal diseases.

  • 21 June 2014

    WHO condemns attacks on health facilities in Iraq

    21 June 2014, Erbil, Iraq – WHO strongly condemns the attacks on health facilities in Iraq and expresses concern about the serious implications of these attacks on medical personnel, patients and health infrastructure.

  • 21 June 2014

    Kurdistan regional government plans measles/polio vaccination campaign

    The Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan region of Iraq and WHO plan to launch a vaccination campaign for measles and polio across the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The emergency campaign, due to be launched on 29 June across the Kurdistan region of Iraq, is in response to the arrival of more than 300 000 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) to the region following the fighting in the Ninewa governorate in northern Iraq.

  • 18 June 2014

    lraq reports critical shortages in medicines

    The Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan region of lraq is reporting critical shortages in medicines and is requesting support from the World Health Organization (WHO) in the provision of urgently needed supplies.

  • 16 June 2014

    WHO responds to deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq

    Erbil – WHO is working with local and international partners in Iraq to meet the urgent health needs of populations affected by the ongoing crisis.

  • 7 April 2014

    First mass vaccination campaign starts since polio found in Iraq

    Amman – Polio vaccination campaigns have commenced in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, aiming to reach more than 20 million children over five days.

  • 16 January 2014

    Briefing on the response to the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic and neighbouring countries

    WHO delivered a briefing for donors and partners on the health situation and response in the Syrian Arab Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Inputs were provided from countries on the health situation for Syrian refugees in the region including challenges and needs. WHO also identified strategic priorities and needs for 2014


  • June 2013

    Health requirements for neighbouring countries in the Syrian Arab Republic crisis

    The United Nations and its partners have dramatically increased their 2013 humanitarian appeal for the Syrian Arab Republic and neighbouring countries to approximately US$4.4 billion. Health requirements in the appeal for neighbouring countries amount to US$242 million, representing 19% of the total. The health aspects of the appeal are restricted to priority life-saving health needs and medicines, and by no means aim to cover all that is needed for comprehensive health care.