International

750,000 children in Mosul struggling to access basic health services

UNICEF is calling for $17 million to assist the Iraqi government in restoring health services for families and children.

Emma Claybrook – New Europe

Violence has subsided in Mosul, but less than 10 percent of health facilities in the Nineveh Governorate are functioning at full capacity according to UNICEF, which is calling for $17 million to support children and to rebuild health facilities for children in Iraq in 2018.

Three years of violence in Iraq has destroyed the country’s health facilities. Over 60 facilities have come under attack since the latest round of violence began in 2014, disrupting access to basic health services for children and families.

“The state of Iraq’s healthcare system is alarming. For pregnant women, newborn babies, and children, preventable and treatable conditions can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death,” said Peter Hawkins, a UNICEF Representative in Iraq, who has just completed a visit to the Al Khansa Hospital in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

“Medical facilities are strained beyond capacity and there are critical shortages of life-saving medicines.”

UNICEF has pledged its support to healthcare facilities in an effort to assist the Iraqi Government. In Mosul, UNICEF has restored the pediatric and nutritional wards of two hospitals, provided 160 refrigerators for life-saving vaccines for more than 250,000 children and started campaigns to vaccinate all children in the city under five years of age.

Approximately half a million children in Nineveh have been vaccinated against Polio and Measles, and around 180,000 received Vitamin A supplementation as part of emergency nutritional care.

“As people start to return to their homes, it is essential that basic services like health, education, and specialized support for children impacted by violence are available,” said Hawkins.

The Reconstruction Conference for Iraq will be held in Kuwait City from February12-14. The conference will allow the Government of Iraq and the international community to come together and discuss the reconstruction of the destroyed parts of the country. The goal is to put children at the heart of reconstruction, which UNICEF has pledged to do by allocating more of the budget for children’s services.

“What I saw in the hospitals in Mosul is both heartbreaking and inspiring. The ingenuity and dedication of health workers who are committed to giving newborn children the best possible start in life in the most challenging of circumstances are remarkable. They too deserve support so that they can continue to save lives,” added Hawkins.

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