In pictures: Building a foundation for Iraq’s recovery from COVID-19

Creating a space for recovery through the rehabilitation of Iraqi healthcare facilities

July 20, 2020

The continued growth of the COVID-19 crisis in Iraq could result in long-lasting health, security and economic implications for the nation’s most vulnerable people.

A country already recovering from decades of conflict, and with the added shock of plummeting oil prices in 2020, the risk of infection is but one of many concerns for the Iraqi people.

A worker in Ramadi, applies cement render to the walls inside the isolation rooms.

But, with the support of our donors and in coordination with the Ministry of Health , UNDP Iraq is committed to providing targeted support to ensure the critical needs of Iraq’s most vulnerable people are addressed.

Since April 2020, UNDP has identified 13 healthcare facilities across 12 governorates (Anbar, Babil, Basra, Dohuk, Diyala, Karbala, Kirkuk, Misan, Najaf, Ninewa, Salah Al-Din and Thi Qar) that require critical support to improve their capacity to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  Each facility will benefit from the rehabilitation of infrastructure and establishment of isolation rooms.

Foundation casting is underway for the establishment of an isolation room in Kirkuk. Once the cement foundation is poured, construction of the framework for 20 Isolation rooms will commence.

Once rehabilitation and establishment are complete, each healthcare facility will also receive delivery of critical medical equipment, including ventilators, patient monitors, suction machines and defibrillators.

In addition, central laboratories in Anbar, Dohuk and Erbil, will be provided with critical testing equipment which will enable the processing of COVID-19 tests, relieving the burden on Iraq’s central lab in Baghdad and expediting testing times. 

Laying the foundation for new isolation rooms across Iraq

Land is cleared and leveled to prepare for foundation casting in Dohuk. Once the cement foundation is poured, construction of the framework for 20 Isolation rooms will commence.

Following technical assessment by UNDP Senior Engineers, designs for the rehabilitation and establishment of isolation rooms have been finalized and construction work is well underway.

In Basra, work has begun to rehabilitate and establish isolation rooms within the existing hospital.

In total, 180 airborne infection isolation rooms will be established across eleven facilities in Iraq. Each room will be completed with separate access and ventilation systems to ensure prevention and protection against the spread of infection to health care providers and other hospital patients.

Fallujah Teaching Hospital

Fallujah Teaching Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in the district, and the primary hospital in the city – serving more than 275,000 residents. Since 2017, with support from UNDP Iraq, significant damage sustained under ISIL, has been repaired and critical equipment replaced.

Now, the hospital is also equipped with a 10 single bed airborne infection isolation rooms and is awaiting delivery of essential medical equipment.

Medical equipment

Once each facility has completed construction, UNDP will deliver one ventilator, one patient monitor and one suction machine for each single bed room, and one defibrillator for each facility. This medical equipment is necessary to ensure quality care can be provided to individuals experiencing more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

A hospital employee used protected access to enter into the new isolations rooms.


Personal Protective Equipment for all workers

UNDP Iraq will also support the provision of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in all 12 facilities, including respirators, gloves, goggles, scrubs, hand sanitizers and face shields. Frontline healthcare workers are the heroes of the global COVID-19 response, and their safety is essential to the fight against the pandemic.

All workers’ completing rehabilitation works across Iraq are provided with Personal Protective Equipment, including disposable gloves and face masks. The health of every Iraqi is critical to the nations’ recovery.

At the beginning of each project, workers also receive training on COVID-19 safety and health guidelines.

Sterilization of hospital facilities is on-going throughout the rehabilitation and establishment works, to ensure the safety and health of existing patients.

UNDP Iraq’s support for the rehabilitation and establishment of isolation rooms, and delivery of critical medical equipment is complemented by on-going support to the Government and community through community advocacy campaigns and digital information platforms, community cohesion activities (such as food delivery), and economic recovery, through the assessment and analysis of COVID-19 on business and livelihoods in Iraq.

UNDP Iraq, with the generous support of the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States, is supporting the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNDP’s COVID-19 Response in Iraq

UNDP Iraq, along with the generous support of a number of donors, is supporting the Government of Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All activities are designed in line with UNDP’s Global Integrated Response, the WHO Iraq Country Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan Against COVID-19, and in coordination with other UN agencies and the Ministry of Health of Iraq and respective Directorates of Health at the governorates level.