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Taha and Johana have been living in a camp near Mosul with their eight children for four months.


"We came from a town just north of Mosul. In June 2014 one of my children became sick so we travelled to Mosul for treatment. It was very bad timing. Within 24 hours, ISIS came, and we were stuck there for several years.


When the Mosul offensive began we had an opportunity to escape. It was very dangerous with mortars falling around us.


In the camp we don't have much, but we appreciate the safety and the pain medication my daughter can access for her illness."

Photo: IMC

Stories from patients and healthcare professionals on the ground


Dr Abdul Bary works in Hassan Sham camp - home to more than 12,000 displaced people. On average he sees around 200 cases a day. Around a quarter of these are usually children.


"The most common cases we see include respiratory infections, diarrhoea, skin infections (such as scabies and Leishmaniasis) .These health issues will remain a problem as long as people are living in these conditions. People's health here is affected by underlying issues such as malnutrition too.


We also get many cases of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Our choice of available medicines is limited. This is frustrating. We have the knowledge to treat some of these cases, but not the medicines."


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West Erbil Hospital is the nearest hospital to Mosul able to receive trauma and acute cases. At present almost 80% of its patients are refugees, displaced people and others affected by the conflict.


"We have received no new medicines in two months" says the hospital's pharmacist. "We currently have only 30% of the medicines that we need and many of our essentials have run out. Sometimes the burns unit can be closed entirely because we do not have the specialist cream with which to treat the patients. Other times we may refer a patient to another hospital in the hope that they may have access to the right medicine, but the patient passes away on the journey."


The Iraqi Kurdistan region is in the middle of an economic crisis. Struggling to meet the needs of its own population of 5 million people, it is also faced with the task of providing emergency medical needs to over 2 million refugees and displaced people.


Dr Saman, the DG of Health for the Erbil Governorate confirms that the needs are great. "We need help from many agencies at this time. Sometimes we are seeing over 300 trauma cases a day. We've had to cancel operations because we haven't had the drugs to perform them, and we're even running out of basic disposables likes gloves."