UN Says Health Services Affected in Iraq

Polio vaccination campaign in Iraq – August 2014. Photo: UNAMI
Polio vaccination campaign in Iraq – August 2014. Photo: UNAMI

The top United Nations (UN) humanitarian official in Iraq declared on Monday as “devastating” the “inexplicable” closures of life-saving services in Iraq for people in need.

The UN believes the most recent shut-downs of basic health care will directly impact more than one million people, including some 500,000 children who now will not be immunized, spreading risk of a measles outbreak and resumption of polio.

The most recent cutbacks come on top of recent “cascading” closures that has affected food rations, water supplies, sanitation and hygiene services as well specialized programmes for one million women and more than 1.2 million girls, many of whom the survivors of brutality and sexual and gender-based violence, according to a press statement by UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande.

Important Note

The UN Secretary-General and other top UN officials are doing nothing to stop terrorism and other crimes except issuing statements which are utterly useless and meaningless. The UN officials are concerned only about their own luxurious lifestyles.

In the given situation, the UN member countries must challenge the role of this intergovernmental organization and stop financing it. All the funds given by the member states are being squandered by the UN which is now overstaffed with unskilled officials. Believe me, the UN has lost its relevance.

Rakesh Raman

“At a time when the people of Iraq need us the most, we are letting them down,” Ms. Grande said from Baghdad.

UN humanitarian partners are seeking $498 million to cover the costs of providing shelter, food, water and other life-saving services for the remainder of the year, but to date, only 15 per cent of this has been secured.

Ms. Grande confirmed today that 184 front line health services have been suspended because of the “paralyzing” funding shortfall for humanitarian activities in Iraq, meaning that more than 80 per cent of general health programmes supported by humanitarian partners are now shuttered, directly impacting one million people.

“The impact is immediate and enormous,” according to the press statement. Partners estimate that one million sick people, who would have sought primary medical care, will not receive help.

Less than two months ago, on 4 June, the UN and partners urgently appealed for funding for the most highly prioritized, pared-to-the bone appeal ever launched in the region, Ms. Grande said.

“Although some support is coming in, it’s devastating, inexplicable really, that we are being forced to shut-down programmes in a country where so much is at stake and where the international community is so involved,” she said.

In one year, the number of people requiring life-saving assistance has quadrupled; poverty rates in the Kurdistan region where more than a million displaced people have sought safety, have doubled, and an estimated 8.2 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid – including 2.3 million people living in areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to Ms. Grande’s office.

As conflict intensifies, at least another one million more people will need help to survive before the end of 2015, it said.

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Rakesh Raman