Years after the battle against the Islamic State group ended in Mosul, Iraq, the city’s health system has not yet recovered. It’s still difficult for many patients with violent or accidental trauma injuries to access adequate secondary health care services. In response, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working in Mosul’s Al-Wahda hospital since 2018, providing comprehensive post-operative care to patients from the city and surrounding areas.
“In Ninawa governorate there is a shortage of skilled surgery staff and post-surgical care,” said Dr. Yuely Capileno, MSF medical team leader. “MSF is trying to fill this void in Mosul and offer these patients a chance to recover.”
Few options for treatment
Many people in Mosul are living with debilitating injuries that have dramatically affected their lives. Most patients who were wounded during the conflict and treated on the front lines did not receive the follow-up needed for their injuries to properly heal. For some, this has resulted in complications like infection, limited mobility, and in severe cases, amputation.
But conflict and violence are not the only reason why people need MSF’s services in Mosul. Injuries like traffic accidents or falls, for instance, can cause physical trauma. The lack of sufficient orthopedic services in Mosul’s public hospitals, coupled with Iraq’s struggling economy, have made it challenging for injured people to access the care and follow-up they need. In many cases, even those who can afford care struggle to find adequate treatment in private hospitals.
“I was treated by the medical posts on the front lines and was sent to a hospital to be stabilized,” said Saqr Badr, who was shot in the leg by a sniper as he tried to flee Mosul in 2017. “After that, I was discharged, but still had a big wound in my leg that would regularly get infected. I stayed in my bed for a long time not able to move my leg.”
In 2018, Badr spent two months at MSF’s Al-Wahda hospital in Mosul before being referred to our reconstructive surgery hospital in Amman, Jordan, to complete treatment. “I came back to Iraq and was finally able to walk,” he said. “But four months ago, I had an accident at work and broke my leg again in the same place. I ended up coming back to MSF’s hospital in Mosul. That’s the only place where I could be treated.”