January 08, 2013

A dialysis unit support project located in the Kirkuk general hospital implemented by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is complete. MSF now plans to focus its medical resources on the health of mothers and children.

“Our partnership with Ministry of Health teams led to enhanced quality of care and improved infection control in the dialysis unit,” said Jerôme Alin, MSF’s Head of Mission in Iraq. “MSF can now reallocate these resources to maternal and child healthcare.” MSF plans to develop new programs in the maternity and neonatal units of Kirkuk general hospital to improve care for newborns.

MSF’s dialysis unit project was staffed by a team of Iraqi and international medical staff who worked with Ministry of Health teams to care for patients suffering from severe kidney failure. 

After the dialysis unit was enlarged, the number of patients increased fivefold. In 2010 there was capacity for just 22 patients, but by late-2012 there were 100 patients on treatment. MSF’s surgical team performed 26 vascular surgeries for end-stage kidney disease patients. 

MSF staff also provided technical and medical training to hospital staff to improve the quality of health care, and worked with the hospital to improve sterilization, infection control, and pharmacy management. They set up an infection control committee, installed a sterilization unit, and provided a water treatment system for the dialysis unit. A team from MSF renovated hospital facilities and provided Iraqi technical staff with training to help them maintain facilities in the long term. 

Kirkuk general hospital is one of the main hospitals in northern Iraq, where most severe and complicated cases are referred and treated. 

MSF is currently providing medical care to Iraqis in Anbar, Bagdad, Najaf, and in the northern governorates of Kirkuk, Hawijah, and Dohuk. This is in spite of ongoing violence which makes it difficult for MSF’s international staff to work in Iraq. Since 2006, MSF has developed activities in the fields of surgery, dialysis, mental health, and mother and child health care. In order to ensure its independence, MSF does not accept funding from any government, religious committee, or international agency for its programs in Iraq, relying solely on private donations from the general public around the world to carry out its work.