Iraq needs global intervention: UN official
The maternal mortality ratio in Iraq is 320 mothers per 100,000 live births.
War is over but women in Iraq continue to live the horrors of the armed conflict.
Many were raped, suffered sexual abuse and forced into marriages - these harrowing experiences continue to haunt them - and a global intervention is needed to address these issues, a senior official from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 16th Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition (Dihad) on Tuesday (March 12), Dr Oluremi Sogunro told Khaleej Times that the situation remains critical in Iraq, especially for women and young children.
"Despite the defeat of Daesh in late 2017, there are still sporadic gunfights in various parts of Iraq, including Baghdad," Sogunro said.
The most vulnerable are the mothers and babies. Sogunro noted that based on their estimate, the maternal mortality ratio in Iraq is 320 mothers per 100,000 live births while the neo-natal death rate is 50 babies per 1,000 deliveries.
The deaths are attributed to the lack of medical facilities and health workers as well as access to medicine and proper nutrition.
"Women also continue to live in the shadows, especially those who were victims of sexual abuse and those forced into marriages. What's worse is that women don't usually seek help or intervention out of fear and social stigma," Sogunro added.
According to the UNFPA, there are around six million internal refugees in Iraq and half of them are women.
Sogunro said a global effort is needed to address the issues of displaced men and women in war-torn Iraq.
"We need at least $22 million but we have only $6.3 million to finance our projects," said Sogunro, adding: "That's why we are attending the conference in Dubai to gain support from country agencies and various organisations."
"The women survivors need psychological intervention, shelter and other forms of relief, including health kits. Another urgent need is to have maternity hospitals and health workers in new facilities we are operating in Basra, Mosul and Salah Al-Din," he underlined.
Another major project the UNFPA is planning is to conduct a national census in Iraq next year.
Sogunro said: "We will need at least $100 million for this project, which is very important because no census has been conducted in Iraq for the last 30 years."
According to the UNFPA, the estimated population of Iraq is 48 million.
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