The World Health Organization WHO extends its gratitude to the Government and People of Japan for the generous contribution of US$ 803,571 to assist in protecting health security in post-conflict Iraq by strengthening the country's ability to prepare for and respond to public health events, particularly in vulnerable populations.
While the country moves towards the reconstruction and resilience phase, the need for humanitarian assistance persists, and services established by WHO during the crisis need to be sustained in areas of internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, refugees and host communities. More than 5 million people in Iraq were internally displaced because of the recent conflict in Iraq. While over 3.5 million individuals have returned to their homes of origin, 10 per cent remain living in IDP camps. Further, approximately 30 per cent of the total recorded IDPs are living with host communities in displaced locations. The IDPs, including those in the camps, within host communities, returnees and other vulnerable people, continue to be at risk of infectious diseases.
"The overall aim is to protect health security in Iraq by strengthening the country's ability to prepare for and respond to public health events, using the all-hazards approach, as per the International Health Regulations IHR (2005). More specifically, WHO will continue to support vulnerable populations in the prevention and control of epidemic-prone diseases and emerging infectious diseases that pose a threat to people in a post-conflict era" said Dr Adham Ismail, Acting Representative of WHO in Iraq, acknowledging the generous contribution from Japan. WHO's work will largely focus on developmental activities to build and enhance the capacity of health professionals at various levels (central, governorate, and district) in disease detection and monitoring through the strengthening of the surveillance system and laboratory diagnostics and in case management for prevalent diseases to ensure appropriate patient care.
This contribution will ensure an enhanced infectious disease surveillance system and public health preparedness to enable early detection and response to disease outbreaks and other public health threats. It will also go towards enhancing the capacity of health professionals in preparing for and responding to infectious disease outbreaks as well as improving risk communication in infectious disease prevention and control. Further, it will target 3,000,000 high-risk populations, namely IDPs, returnees, refugees and host communities.
The Government of Japan has been a key partner to WHO, contributing a total of US$ 6,075,696 million over 4 years in support of the Organization's interventions and services to the health sector across Iraq.