German aid workers in Iraq | Close up - The Current Affairs Documentary | DW | 01.03.2018
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Close up

German aid workers in Iraq

A German aid organization is working where many international helpers no longer dare to go. Directly behind the frontlines of Iraq, where battles for the last IS strongholds are raging, doctors and paramedics are working here as volunteers.

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Cadus treats people who otherwise receive little or no medical care. "Many of the people there have not seen a doctor in years. The health system has totally collapsed,” says Fee Baumann, regional manager for northern Iraq. Cadus often arrives just days after a village has been reclaimed. The teams are composed of doctors, paramedics and nurses. They are all volunteers. The crews change every three weeks. Cadus was founded in 2014 in Berlin by Sebastian Jünemann, a qualified paramedic and psychologist. Jünemann was already familiar with the way international aid agencies operate. "I often did not feel comfortable with the working atmosphere, plus the realization of the projects was often not very efficient.” He and some like-minded people decided to provide unconventional, direct humanitarian aid. Because their mobile hospital can be assembled or taken down in just a few hours, Cadus can follow the shifting frontlines. Although the team can only operate under the protection of the Iraqi army, they treat every injured person they encounter, no matter what side they belong to. To good effect - Cadus has saved the lives of hundreds of people in northern Iraq.