WHO Bridging the Shortfall in Oxygen Supply in Iraq
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WHO Bridging the Shortfall in Oxygen Supply in Iraq

Baghdad (WHO)- In light of the increasing number of Covid-19 infected cases and the severe shortage of oxygen in Iraqi hospitals, the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq has succeeded in securing  300 oxygen concentrators  to be used in Iraqi hospitals according to the Ministry’s distribution plan. The concentrators were airlifted from the WHO's warehouses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and delivered to the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

The 300 oxygen concentrators came at a time in which COVID-19 case management hospitals are suffering from severe shortage in oxygen supplies, which are greatly needed in treating COVID-19 moderate and severe cases with respiratory difficulties.

“The new donated Oxygen Concentrators will surely save more lives,” said WHO Iraq Representative Dr Adham Ismail, “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO was fighting the pandemic with every tool at its disposal to save lives and support countries with limited response capacity, including Iraq.” Ismail Added.

On June 24, Video clips posted on Social media showed a state of panic, fear and chaos in one of the largest hospitals in the city of Thi-qar, southern Iraq after reports of severe oxygen shortages that caused casualties among COVID-19 cases. This was coupled by other reports from different governorates showing the lack of oxygen supplies in their healthcare facilities. All of these incidents and reports have prompted WHO to act urgently and immediately to help Iraqis meet the shortfall in oxygen supplies.

Since mid-May, Iraq has been recording increasingly higher numbers of new COVID-19 infections and deaths. Official statistics from the Iraqi Ministry of Health reported on 1 July 2020 a total of 51,524 COVID-19 infected cases, 2050 deaths and 26,267 recoveries.

During the period from March to June 2020, WHO Iraq handed over 1.6 Million USD in the form of diagnostic kits, equipment and furniture, personal protective equipment (PPEs), health kits and supplies to the Federal Mistry of Health and the Ministry of Health in KRG.

WHO and the Iraqi health authorities proactively coordinated a comprehensive response to the pandemic as early as January 2020.  The organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is currently engaged in a major awareness campaign targeting people living in 10 heavily affected areas in Baghdad. More than 250 community volunteers were mobilized to deliver educational and preventive messages for 4 weeks from 29 June to 28 July 2020.

WHO would like to extend its thanks to Kuwait and ECHO for their generous donations to support the efforts of fighting COVID-19 pandemic in Iraq.