November 21, 2016

The newly renovated intensive care unit (ICU) at Sulaymaniyah Emergency Hospital officially opened on November 19. The new ICU has a 10-bed capacity, including two beds in an isolation room for the most at-risk patients, says Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

“This hospital is very important for the people of Sulaymaniyah Governorate and neighboring regions, as it is the main referral facility for the severely ill and injured,” says Jonathan Henry, MSF head of mission in Iraq, based in Sulaymaniyah. “We are very happy to be able open the newly renovated intensive care unit.”

Sulaymaniyah Emergency Hospital is the only trauma facility in Sulaymaniyah Governorate treating all people with acute medical and surgical illnesses. Over the last two years, there has been a significant rise in the hospital’s catchment population (currently over 2.5 million people) due to the influx of internally displaced persons from neighboring conflict zones.

MSF has worked in Sulaymaniyah Emergency Hospital since January 2016, with the aim of reducing patient mortality by improving quality of care in both the ICU and the emergency department (ER). This is done through improved quality of patient care and structural renovation of the ER and ICU facilities.

The renovated ICU has been operating since November 10, and was officially inaugurated on November 19. “Patients admitted in the ICU and the ER are from the host community as well as internally displaced persons,” says Henry. “We treat many traumas, including road traffic accidents, domestic accidents, and war-wounded [patients]. The Sulaymaniyah Emergency Hospital also treats patients referred from other areas including Kirkuk, Ninewa, and Dyiala governorates. MSF aims to provide quality health care to all patients.”

An MSF medical team comprising an ICU medical doctor, an ER medical doctor, an ICU nurse, and an ER nurse works alongside staff from the Sulaymaniyah Directorate of Health to deliver improved quality health care to patients through provision of clinical expertise, including theoretical and hands-on training. An ICU and ER induction program is included for all nursing and medical staff; along with implementation of safe trauma and intensive care with evidence-based standards, protocols, and guidelines; and implementation of infection control policies. MSF also supplies the hospital with essential drugs and medical equipment.

From January to September 2016, 250 patients were admitted in the ICU and over 25,000 patients were admitted in the ER.

MSF has worked in Iraq intermittently since 1991 and currently employs over 700 Iraqi and international staff working in projects in 12 governorates. In order to ensure its neutrality, impartiality, and independence, MSF does not accept funding from any government 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. 

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