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Why are we There?  

  • Armed conflict 

Our Work


  • A rapid escalation in conflict in Iraq caused massive internal displacement in 2014. Nearly two million people have fled their homes in search of safety.
  • Continual fighting hampered the delivery of humanitarian assistance to displaced people in northern and central Iraq.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières launched emergency interventions and found that most of the health problems were related to poor sanitary conditions, particularly the lack of latrines and clean water.
  • Staff routinely treated people with respiratory and urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal problems, and skin and chronic diseases.


Emergency relief for displaced people

  • The Islamic State (IS) group and allies launched major offensives in Samarra and Mosul in June, and around Sinjar, near the border with Syria, in August. During this period people fled for safety, mainly into Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières responded by launching emergency interventions to provide basic medical care and relief for displaced families in several locations.
  • In June, four mobile clinics started to operate across Dohuk governorate, providing basic medical care and distributing relief items to displaced people.
  • In Kirkuk city and the surrounding areas, two teams ran mobile clinics in five locations providing basic healthcare, focusing on chronic diseases, maternal and paediatric care.
  • Mobile clinics reached displaced people in several locations between Mosul and Erbil from June to August and Médecins Sans Frontières was the first healthcare provider to arrive and set up a basic health clinic at Bharka camp, where displaced people were gathering. The clinic was handed over to the International Medical Corps several weeks later.
  • In October, Médecins Sans Frontières began offering basic healthcare in a clinic in Diyala governorate, focusing on the needs of people displaced by the conflict in the region.
  • Between November 2014 and January 2015, Médecins Sans Frontières assisted displaced people coming from the north of the country and from Najaf, Karbala, Babil, Wassit and Al-Qadisiyyah governorates, by running mobile clinics and health promotion activities, and by providing relief supplies.  


The consequences of conflict

  • In June, the day after Médecins Sans Frontières had completed its basic healthcare clinic in Tikrit, the structure was destroyed by an explosion, and international and Iraqi medical staff were evacuated from the area.
  • The IS group took control of the city and Médecins Sans Frontières has not been able to return since.
  • Teams had been working in the general hospital of Hawijah, supporting the emergency services, since 2010.
  • In August, Médecins Sans Frontières offices in the hospital compound were severely damaged during fighting and this prompted the closure of the project.
  • Also in August, staff had to flee the Sinjar hospital when IS forces seized the town
  • In December, Médecins Sans Frontières withdrew from Heet hospital after the IS group took the city. 


Assisting Syrian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan

  • In addition to the newly displaced Iraqis needing assistance in the region, more than 200,000 Syrian refugees have been living in Iraqi Kurdistan, many in Erbil governorate, and have ongoing healthcare needs.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières was the main provider of basic healthcare to Syrians in Darashakran and Kawargosk refugee camps, until activities could be handed over to the International Medical Corps in November and December, respectively.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières has continued to provide a programme of mental health support in these camps
  • In August, Médecins Sans Frontières opened a maternity unit and had assisted 571 deliveries by the end of the year.


Reconstructive surgery in Jordan

  • Many victims of war are unable to access reconstructive surgery in Iraq because of the cost and the security situation, and post-operative care such as physiotherapy is lacking.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières offers wounded Iraqis reconstructive surgery, psychosocial support and physiotherapy through its project in Amman, Jordan. 


Programme closures

  • In February, Médecins Sans Frontières ended its support of the neonatal unit in Kirkuk general hospital.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières also completed a programme of training and support in Al-Zahra hospital, Najaf governorate, in October. 


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Médecins Sans Frontières first worked in the country in 2003 and at the end of 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières had 627 staff in Iraq.

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