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Launch of the campaign, opened by the Governor of Suleimaniyah (central, black suit), and attended by members of the local media and health authorities © WHO

Kurdistan 24: WHO opens office in Kurdistan Region, dispatches medical aid; Infected UN workers receive treatment in Erbil

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq opened its main office in the Kurdistan Region on Tuesday to accelerate its works and monitor the health situation in the region, the organization’s representative announced, as it also dispatched medical aid to the regional health ministry. A new hospital is dedicated in Erbil province to receive COVID-19 infected United Nations workers in Iraq.

“We opened this office to monitor the health situation closely,” WHO Representative in Iraq Adham Ismail told Kurdistan 24, as an emergency room was also inaugurated in the office to provide rapid response to health emergencies.

“As WHO, the Kurdistan Region is important for us and we want a better health situation even after the pandemic,” Ismail noted. The office will be responsible for providing health information in coordination with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Health Ministry.

The regional health minister, Saman Barzinji, said the opening of the WHO office would be a “good support” for the Kurdistan Region as it prepares itself for possible waves of the pandemic in the coming Fall and Winter seasons.

WHO dispatches aid to Kurdistan Region

WHO in Iraq, along with other aid groups and governments, provided six ambulances and over 20 tons of health equipment to support the KRG’s efforts in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Strong ambulatory and referral services are the backbones of health care services,” Ismail said, as it facilitates the timely provision of essential health services to people in need.

The ambulances will “be placed at health facilities which serve a high number of refugees and the host community in Erbil,” he added.

Additionally, the WHO, along with the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Government of Kuwait, provided 22 tons of medical aid, including oxygen concentrators, nucleic acid extraction kits, viral transport medium, personal protective equipment, and intensive care hospital beds.

COVID-19 infected UN workers receive treatment in Erbil

In a press conference, Kurdistan Region health minister Barzinji announced that from now on any United Nations (UN) worker in Iraq who are infected with COVID-19 would receive treatment in Erbil.

“Dispatching their [UN] patients [to the Kurdistan Region] shows a significant trust,” the KRG health minister said, as a hospital would be dedicated to receiving Iraq’s UN staff who are infected with the virus.

“The hospital will be dedicated in cooperation with UN,” the minister added.

The Kurdistan Region on Tuesday registered the highest daily infections of over 670 cases, raising the total infections to over 25,000 confirmed cases, more than 940 fatalities.

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