As part of its humanitarian intervention for Syrian refugees, WHO, along with other humanitarian partners, also supported the Ministry of Health/Departments of Health in both governorates in conducting a joint field assessment aimed at better understanding health conditions, services provided and needs of Syrian refugees in Iraq. The assessment targeted Syrians residing inside the camps and within host communities in the Anbar and Dohuk governorates.
The assessment found that children, women, the elderly and people with disabilities are more at risk in terms of chronic diseases and psychosocial and violence-related illnesses. In addition, it was found that there is a shortage of medical supplies, especially for chronic diseases, with no facilities for people with disabilities. There is a dire need to build the capacity of the health workers in the areas of surveillance, in order to prevent the outbreak of any communicable diseases.
Based on the assessment, WHO has provided medicine to the Directorate of Health to cover the needs for three to five months. One hundred and fifty wheelchairs and other medical supplies, including 33 Interagency Emergency Health Kits (IEHK), hygiene kits, vaccination services, and health education have been provided to Syrian refugees. WHO also supported the Ministry of Health to implement measures to detect and control disease outbreaks and contributed to the establishment of clinics and to building the capacity of the medical staff in both refugee camps, as well as in local communities.
Despite all the efforts and the existing levels of assistance, there is an urgent need to strengthen the capacity of the local health institutions, as the influx of Syrian refugees into Iraq is predicted to increase further.
The situation in the camps is deteriorating, as the number of new refugees arriving recently increased dramatically, leading to an increased risk of disease outbreaks and also to overburdening the health system in Domiz camp, which is receiving almost 500 Syrian refugees every day.