MOSUL: Medical charity Doctors Without Borders announced on Wednesday the suspension of “vital” medical activities in two hospitals in the war-scarred city of Mosul, blaming Iraq’s bureaucracy of delaying the delivery of supplies.
“Essential medical activities have been suspended at two health facilities … after stocks of medicines and supplies ran critically low,” according to an MSF press release.
The group’s activities are crucial for the major city in northern Iraq, where the health care sector is struggling to recover from years of war and neglect.
Six years after Iraq declared victory over Daesh, much of Mosul, where the jihadists declared their “caliphate,” remains devastated and public services are slowly being rebuilt. MSF attributed the suspension to the “lengthy, complicated, and opaque official procedures which have hampered MSF from ensuring a reliable supply to the projects through Baghdad International Airport and from transporting them within Iraq.”
The charity said it is halting its activities at two out of three MSF-run hospitals in Mosul — Al-Wahda Hospital, where 220 patients received specialist orthopedic surgeries or postoperative care, and Al-Amal Maternity Hospital, where 2,496 deliveries took place.
“It is unfortunate that we have had to suspend vital activities since 1 June in both facilities,” MSF head of mission in Iraq Fernando Galvan said in the statement.
MSF said one shipment was held up at Baghdad’s airport for five months and when it finally took possession of some items many had “expired.”
Iraq’s Transport Ministry, the airport director, and the Civil Aviation Authority did not respond to request for comment on the matter. Galvan said that MSF continues to provide some services at the two Mosul hospitals, including emergency maternity care.
“We will only be able to resume our activities when we can receive the necessary supplies,” he said.
MSF said it was expecting 10 shipments totaling “12 tons of medicines, medical supplies, and equipment” for its various projects in Iraq, urging authorities to facilitate their delivery.
In Mosul, six hospitals are under construction, while 11 other public facilities are currently operational, according to a local official from the health ministry.
As of the end of 2021, the city had 1,800 beds for a population of 1.5 million, according to official statistics.