"This kind of project does not only help cope with emergencies and crises, but it’s also a sustainable development project that will stay in the longer term."
Due to the ongoing Syrian conflict, between 1.5 to 1.7 million internally displaced people and more than 250,000 refugees from Syria arrived in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Health needs have increased fourfold, while resources have halved, if compared to the period between 2013 and 2016.
Nizar Al-Tayyeb, Director General of Health at Dohuk Hospital, which mainly focuses on critical care and maternal and child health, describes how challenging the situation is: “The health service system is not only for the host community, nowadays… IDPs and refugees have also access to free healthcare, but demand does not match the capacity we have.”
He explains that aging infrastructure and lack of personnel are amongst the main challenges to offering healthcare in the region. He estimates that there are 4 doctors and 9 nurses for every 10,000 patients, well below the target of 14 doctors and 13 nurses per 10,000 people.
With the support of the Trust Fund, AISPO, an Italian NGO, has been able to provide significant support to Nizar and his team. “They started supporting us from improving infrastructure and implementing capacity-building activities, to modernising our services and bringing in more technology,” he says. There is still so much to be done, but “the paediatric hospital has an additional 50 beds, there is more capacity to receive patients and child mortality rate has decreased. Of course, this has a good impact on people,” he says.