The United Nations warned this week that due to the escalating crisis in the northern and western parts of the country, about 250,000 Iraqi women and girls – including almost 60,000 pregnant women – need urgent health care as soon as possible.
Recent violence in Iraq has displaced approximately one million people, overwhelming health facilities in parts of the country. The problem is especially acute for women in need of maternity care. The United National Assistance Mission for Iraq reports, for example, that the Erbil Maternity Hospital has had an influx of women seeking services and has had to discharge women from the hospital as little as three hours after delivery. Although the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provided the hospital with reproductive health and delivery kits for emergency obstetric care, the kits only contain supplies for up to 1,200 deliveries, meaning that the supplies will run out in a few weeks.
UNFPA estimates that 1,000 pregnant women in Iraq will face life-threatening complications each month. The organization is calling for immediate action to help those in Iraq who are suffering as a result of the current crisis, including an estimated 20,000 women and girls who are at increased risk of sexual violence during this period.
Media Resources: UNFPA 6/30/14; Relief Web 6/24/14