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UN appeals for $17 million for Iraq health care

February 7, 2018

UNICEF has said more than 750,000 children in Mosul do not have sufficient access to basic health care. Less than 10 percent of health facilities in Ninewah province, where Mosul is the capital, are properly functioning.

A person walking through rubble at sundown in Mosul
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Dana

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday appealed for $17 million (€13.8 million) to support the rebuilding of health facilities for children in Iraq, following three years of violence that have "devastated health facilities."

In a statement, UNICEF said, "As many as 750,000 children in [the major northern city of] Mosul and surrounding areas are struggling to access basic health services."

Read more: 'Islamic State' targets children to punish parents in Mosul, says UN

What UNICEF says:

  • Less than 10 percent of health facilities in Ninewah governorate [where Mosul is the capital city] are functioning at full capacity.
  • Those that are operational are stretched to breaking point.
  • More than 60 health facilities have repeatedly come under attack since violence escalated in 2014.
  • Access to basic health services for children and families has been severely disrupted.

Child labor in Iraq

'A matter of life and death'

The "Islamic State" (IS) militant group once occupied Mosul, where it had declared a so-called caliphate, but the Iraqi military has since taken the city back.

UNICEF representative for Iraq Peter Hawkins said the state of Iraq's health care system was alarming.

Read more: Iraq's courts get creative after routing of 'Islamic State' from Mosul

"For pregnant women, newborn babies and children, preventable and treatable conditions can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death," Hawkins said.

"Medical facilities are strained beyond capacity and there are critical shortages of life-saving medicines," he added.

Following a visit to Mosul's largest hospital, Al Khansa, Hawkins said, "As people start to return to their homes, it is essential that basic services like health, education and specialized support for children impacted by violence are available."

law/sms (dpa, Reuters)