UNICEF aims to train 30,000 primary health care workers in Iraq in efforts to prevent and control Covid-19 infection
With numbers soaring since early June, as of the end of August Iraq has confirmed 231,177 cases of COVID-19 and 6959 deaths.
To stem the tide against the pandemic, UNICEF is supporting the training of an estimated 30,000 health care providers at the primary care level, with the aim of disseminating key information about COVID-19 infection, prevention and control, with a special focus on preventing infection among health providers.
Iraq is using a cascade approach for this massive exercise, with online training of 132 national officials from the Ministry of Health over four days in July, and over 580 personnel from the Primary Health Care departments at governorate- and district-level last week.
These subnational personnel will proceed to train primary care staff in person in coming weeks, thereby ensuring that their newly acquired knowledge is shared widely with other frontline health workers.
"Frontline health workers are the unsung heroes in Iraq's fight against COVID-19. Day after day, they continue to show up and provide critical services to those most in need, risking their lives," said Paula Bulancea, UNICEF's Deputy Representative in Iraq.
"This training will build on UNICEF's ongoing support to health workers and vulnerable communities in Iraq as we work together and with all of our partners in government, the World Health Organization, and in non-government organizations, to control this deadly virus," Dr. Bulancea added.
The cascade training will cover the needs of health workers providing immunization, maternal and neonatal care and nutrition services. It will also focus on water and sanitation in the primary health care setting in the context of COVID19.
"Simple acts such as washing your hands after seeing every patient, ensuring that you maintain social distancing with caregivers when vaccinating a child, and wearing a mask at all times will go a long way in ensuring that the safety of healthcare workers isn't compromised on the job," remarked Dr. Bulancea.
In addition to training health workers, UNICEF has:
- Reached over 14 million people with risk communication and awareness in online and off-line awareness raising campaigns.
- Distributed approximately 11,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) to front line health workers in the most affected governorates.
- Partnered with the University of Karbala to produce 14,500 bottles of locally made hand sanitizers and 10,000 large bottles of disinfectants to disinfect surfaces, in partnership with the Karbala
- Directorate of Health. These products were distributed in healthcare centers in Karbala and Baghdad.
- Launched a satellite TV education channel to support 1.5 million learners in Kurdistan Region of Iraq.