Aid & Development

Baiji Hospital reopens to provide limited medical services

Iraq

The Department of Health in Baiji is reconstructing the health facilities in order to provide medical services to the 300,000 residents currently living in the city and the surrounding region.

In Baiji, northern Iraq, the main hospital has reopened to provide limited medical services to around 300,000 people who live in the city and the surrounding region.

“The Department [of Health in Baiji] has taken it upon itself to reconstruct what can be reconstructed [of the hospital] to the best of its ability,” said one of the hospital officials. “Parts of the sections have been rehabilitated in order to provide medical services to the citizens given the current [lack of] resources.”

Between December 2014 and October 2015, Baiji was the scene of a bitter and protracted battle between ISIS militants and the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU). During the battle, which was largely focused around the Baiji oil refinery, the largest refinery in northern Iraq, much of the city was almost completely destroyed.

Baiji Hospital was one such victim of the battle, with many of its buildings either blown up or burnt, or looted by ISIS militants of its medicine and equipment.

In October 2015, a decisive PMU victory brought the city back under the control of the Iraqi Federal Government. However, the slow pace of the reconstruction of the town, including of its hospital, has prompted many of the town’s residents to convey their discontent with the regional and central governments.

“The emergency department has returned to work and we have two or three rooms to receive the patients in the hospital, but this is not enough,” said another of the hospital officials. “Baiji Hospital was a major hospital which served all the areas of Baiji. The population in the region is over 300,000 residents not to mention the displaced people. So we need the United Nations to support us.”

Although Baiji Hospital has now reopened, it still suffers from a lack of resources and infrastructure. Its ability to provide adequate medical care to all of the region’s population, including the displaced Iraqi people living nearby, remains in doubt.