We also supported the response to the outbreak in Mosul, in Ninewa governorate, temporarily transforming our 64-bed post-operative care facility in the east of the city into a COVID-19 treatment center for suspected and confirmed cases. In mid-November, we opened an additional 15-bed intensive care unit at Al-Salam hospital to offer advanced care for patients with critical and severe forms of the virus.
At other facilities in Ninewa, as well as in Erbil, Diyala, Kirkuk, and Dohuk governorates, we provided training sessions, with a focus on infection control. In addition, we set up a 20-bed isolation unit and treatment facility at Laylan displacement camp in Kirkuk, in preparation for a potential spike in COVID-19 cases.
Essential health care for vulnerable communities
In the rest of the country, we continued to run general and specialist health services at our ongoing projects for displaced people, returnees, and vulnerable communities. In all locations, including our COVID-19 centers, we maintained our emergency room and mental health services.
As a result of the pandemic and the closure of private clinics, our maternity and pediatric teams in west Mosul and Sinuni saw a sharp increase in demand for care and admissions.
In Ninewa, we provided emergency and intensive care, burns treatment, physiotherapy, and mental health care at our hospital in Qayyarah, until October, when we handed over all our activities to local government hospitals. As part of the process, we trained staff and donated medical supplies and other equipment. Until October, at the Qayyarah displacement camp, MSF also offered general health care, maternity services, and treatment and follow-up for non-communicable diseases, until we handed over our activities to another organization.
We also had teams working in general health care centers in the towns of Hawija and Al-Abasi in Kirkuk governorate, and in Sinsil Al-Muqdadiya in Diyala governorate, where we supported maternity services, sexual and reproductive health care, treatment for non-communicable diseases, health promotion, and mental health care. Our general health care services were also available in Laylan camp (Kirkuk), until its closure in November, and in Alwand and Sinsil camps (Diyala), until August, when MSF handed over these activities to the Department of Health and other organizations.
In Baghdad, MSF continued to collaborate with the national tuberculosis (TB) program, with the introduction of a new, more effective oral treatment for drug-resistant TB.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we were forced to temporarily suspend our activities at the Baghdad medical rehabilitation center, where people injured in violent incidents or accidents receive comprehensive care, including mental health support. However, we were able to maintain our support to patients through online physiotherapy and mental health consultations, for example using Skype, and restarted activities later in the year.