The government, led mostly by people of Shia background, has struggled to restore order despite a surge of US troops in late 2007 that pushed insurgents and militias out of cities and provinces they had long contested. In 2012, helped by the civil war across the border in Syria, Sunni Muslim insurgents established strongholds in part of the country and began to move into central and northern Iraq, creating division and volatility.

In April 2013, a militant group known as “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) grew out of al-Qaeda.  It has since become one of the main jihadist groups fighting government forces in Syria and Iraq and has targeted minority communities – including Christians. ISIS has been accused of massacring hundreds of people in areas under their control in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. The violence has displaced an estimated 1.2 million people in Iraq alone.

World Renew is responding in Iraq with local partner organizations and through one of the members of the Integral Alliance. 

The largest project is the provision of primary health care services to a refugee camp of close to 18,000 Yazidis in the village of Sharya, very close to the city of Dohuk, in northern Iraq. It began in June 2015 and will run until the end of March 2016.

A report recently received from Medair, the Integral member implementing this project of activities up to the end of November 2015 includes the following:

  • Medair responded to a cholera outbreak in Iraq through surveillance, treatment, referral and community education within Sharya Camp.  

  • 172 emergency patient referrals from the PHCC to secondary care facilities in Duhok.

  • 439 antenatal care (ANC) and 39 postnatal care (PNC) consultations took place and 17 referrals for routine hospital deliveries were facilitated. 80% of pregnant women have attended 4 or more ANC visits.  233 family planning consultations were conducted, with 86 women attending for the first time. 

  • There are 2 Community Health Officers overseeing 20 Community Health Workers (CHWs). The CHWs have undertaken 6,330 household visits within Sharya Camp. They also host 20 health education groups with 8 participants in each meeting every two weeks within the camp, to discuss health issues relevant to themselves and their community.

The second project initiative is a special project which provides spiritual and pyscho-social support to hundreds of women, most of whom have been displaced because of ISIS.  This innovative program, being led by a Canadian – Iraqi woman, Insaf Safou, is implementing another series of conferences for women in smaller villages during March 2016.