One third of the country of more than forty million people live in poverty, and every tenth inhabitant needs humanitarian aid. Although some of the families returned to their homes after the war, the economy of the country facing political and climatic difficulties makes it difficult to find a job from which you can earn a living. The vision of leaving Iraq is difficult for many people, but perhaps the only scenario for improving living conditions. Although for the time being the attachment to the place of origin wins, it no longer resembles the country from its heyday.
- Any part of the country could appear on a poster about the deepening water crisis. Agriculture is only possible in the north, the two largest water supply rivers are disappearing, sandstorms are becoming more frequent, and so are the health problems they cause. That is why displaced people are concentrated around cities, often living in camps where they are provided with at least a minimum of care, although on the other hand it makes it difficult for them to find a job, says Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart. We have been present in camps in Iraqi Kurdistan for 6 years, observing the progressing changes in the country.
The medical team operating within the clinics, present on the spot every day, is a chance to react quickly to emerging diseases, but they cannot treat more severe cases that require specialized equipment and hospitalization. Over the last decades, representatives of qualified staff have left the country, hospitals are not able to provide assistance to everyone in need. Preventive action allows to reduce the number of necessary consultations, but it will not replace a well-functioning healthcare system, once the best in the region and set as an example. In addition, the problem of increasingly frequent cases of cholera, spreading over almost the entire area of the Middle East, has not bypassed Iraq. Watching the spread of cholera and the lack of vaccines, it can be assumed that 2023 will not be milder in this respect.
In 2023, more than 1.2 million Iraqis are still internally displaced, experiencing problems accessing healthcare, education, and jobs. Half of them live in two districts in the north of the country, Dohuk, and Nineveh. Thousands of them live in 26 camps in this part of the country.
- In the summer, most cases brought to our doctors are related to high temperatures, it is very easy to get a stroke when children are playing outside. Then there are more dermatological diseases because it is difficult to get rid of sand and bacteria penetrating inside, including cholera, which can get into the body after eating vegetables watered with dirty water. Sometimes a drip and several days of rest are enough, but some cases end in serious infections, even cerebral palsy, says Dr. Sana Jawdat, medical coordinator in the camps in Iraqi Kurdistan.