UN launches appeal for children’s health in Iraq
The United Nations children's fund, UNICEF, has launched an appeal for the construction of facilities that could help the children’s health situation in areas in Iraq that have been affected by the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
UNICEF initiated the appeal for $17 million on Wednesday, a week before an international conference on the reconstruction of Iraq, which could help the Arab country better cope with the aftermath of a devastating three-year battle to expel the Daesh terrorists.
Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Iraq, said many children in Iraq’s war-torn areas were in urgent need of health facilities. The official said after a visit to the northern city of Mosul that some 750,000 children in the city and surrounding areas in the province of Nineveh were "struggling to access basic health services."
"While violence has subsided, less than 10 percent of health facilities in Nineveh governorate are functioning at full capacity. Those that are operational are stretched to breaking point,” said Hawkins in a statement.
The official said Iraq’s reconstruction conference, which is going to be held in Kuwait next week, would be "a unique opportunity... to put children at the heart" of the process.
He said at least $17 million would be needed to help the country rebuild its health facilities now that the war on Daesh has been ended.
“The state of Iraq's healthcare system is alarming ... For pregnant women, newborn babies, and children, preventable and treatable conditions can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death,” Hawkins said.
Iraq has estimated that it would require an overall $100 billion to rebuild territories that have been torn apart by Daesh. The Takfiri terrorists captured areas in the north and west of Iraq in 2014 and even managed to reach areas near the capital Baghdad. However, Iraq recaptured the cities, towns and villages one by one and authorities declared after the liberation of Mosul last July that the country was effectively purged of militants.
Daesh’s devastating campaign in Iraq has inflicted huge losses on children. UNICEF said last month that some 5.1 million children were in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of war on Daesh in Iraq. It said around one million Iraqi children now live in overcrowded camps and 70 percent of the displaced children have missed a whole year of school. The UNICEF report added that separation from families, abduction, recruitment into the fighting, and sexual violence are the main risks threatening children affected by militancy in the Arab country.