The COVID-19 emergency in Iraq continues to escalate, with the country reporting close to 4,000 new cases a day and approximately 500 deaths a week. In the past month, more than 100,000 cases have been detected in the country, and on September 23, 5,055 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed, representing the highest daily rate in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, is the worst-hit city, with almost 30 percent of the country’s reported cases.
“We’re trying to do our best to support the efforts of Iraqi health authorities in tackling the virus in Baghdad, even though our capacity is limited,” said Gwenola Francois, head of MSF programs in Iraq. “Even with the high number of patients we see at the moment, we are not sure where we are on the epidemiological curve. From what we can see the situation is deeply worrying.” To respond to the escalating emergency and support local health authorities, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has started working in Al-Kindy hospital in Baghdad. The hospital is receiving large numbers of severe and critical COVID-19 patients. During the past two months, MSF teams have assisted in the respiratory care unit (RCU), providing bedside training for staff, including ventilator use, administration of medication, and implementation of techniques adapted for the treatment of COVID-19.