10 February 2016, 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.
“The health needs in Iraq are enormous. WHO has been working closely with the Ministry of Health to implement strategic health objectives and reach more people with better health care and more life-saving services,” says Dr Alwan. “In 2016, WHO and the Ministry of Health will focus on the rehabilitation of health services in the newly liberated areas in Anbar, Salah-El-Din and Ninawa in addition to addressing a number of public health issues in Iraq and ensuring availability of an essential health services package to returnees in these areas,” explained Dr Alwan.
The current fiscal, security and humanitarian crisis has overwhelmed the health system in the country and compromised accessibility to and quality of health services in a number of areas. An estimated 84% of health facilities are either partially or totally non-functional in security-compromised governorates like Anbar, Ninawa, Salah Aldin, Diyala and Kirkuk, making it a necessity to rehabilitate these facilities in the newly liberated areas, in particular, to reach returnees with guaranteed access to essential health services.