Sunday was a national holiday in Iraqi Kurdistan. The country celebrated the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, which until 9th April 2003 had systematically repressed the Kurdish population.
Although it was a national holiday, Ghamgen was working. She is a nurse and like every other day she travelled from neighbouring Sulaymaniyah to one of EMERGENCY’s health centres within the Ashti camp, located in the Arbat area.
The tents inside the camp are home to over 18,000 people, displaced Iraqis and Syrians who represent a small minority of those who, fleeing violence in their country, have taken refuge in Kurdistan.
“I started working for EMERGENCY one year ago. At this clinic we offer paediatric care and pre-natal and postnatal care for Mothers. I am extremely proud to welcome these people in need. For example, this week we visited 108 children, many of whom were born inside the camp.”
Inside the Ashti camp we also raise awareness. Our ‘Health Promoter’ goes tent to tent, explaining the correct hygiene and health practices to the inhabitants of the camp. There are 2,700 people inside the camp.”
Since 2003, after a decade of relative stability and economic growth, Iraqi Kurdistan continues down its obstacle-ridden path, between the conflict in Mosul, economic crisis and the management of those fleeing the fighting.
“Because of the crisis it is very difficult to find a job, especially for the inhabitants of the camp. Some Mothers cannot even afford to buy milk. As a Mother of a one year old, I cannot imagine what it feels like to be in this situation. I want to do my part to ensure they don’t also lose their right to treatment.”