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News from 2022-10-25 / KfW Development Bank

Baharka Hospital in Erbil officially opened

Several people stand next to each other at the opening of Baharka Hospital
From left to right: Hugo de Vries (UNDP), Zena Ali Ahmad (UNDP), Sirwa Rasul (Joint Crisis Coordination Centre), Dr Anna-Christine Janke (KfW), Dr Christine Heimburger (KfW), Klaus Streicher (German Consulate Erbil), Mona Heiss (German Consulate Erbil), Dr Kanar Hidayat (Ministry of Planning KRI)

On 24 October 22, the Baharka Hospital was inaugurated in Erbil in the north of Iraq by representatives of the Kurdish Regional Government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and German representatives - including KfW Development Bank. The opening of the hospital will create further urgently needed capacity for the care of patients with airborne infections and respiratory diseases, such as COVID-19, chickenpox and tuberculosis.

The funds for the construction were provided by the Ministry of Health of the regional government, while UNDP was responsible for the electrical (installation of generators, power supply, air conditioning, telephone system) and mechanical upgrading of the hospital. The mechanical work included the installation of medical gas and ventilation systems and a fire-fighting system. UNDP also procured the medical equipment for the isolation rooms, e.g. patient monitors, defibrillators and ventilators. This work and the equipment were financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW Development Bank with a total of USD 2.3 million.

The hospital has 38 normal beds and 30 isolation beds, it offers specialised medical treatment and services to patients with respiratory diseases. The operator is the Ministry of Health in Erbil. The facility will provide modern health services to a catchment area of more than 1 million inhabitants.

The new hospital building
The new hospital building.

"This hospital would not have been built without the generous support of the Federal Republic of Germany. Together, we have made a huge contribution to revitalising the health sector in Iraq after years of instability and conflict," says UNDP Representative for Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, UNDP has supported the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to strengthen their response to COVID-19. Barhaka Hospital is one of nineteen specialised health centres that UNDP has established across the country.

Dr Christine Heimburger (Head of Department Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq at KfW) was also present at the inauguration of the Baharka Hospital: "This is indeed something very special, as it represents direct cooperation and collaboration between the Kurdistan Regional Government and UNDP. We look forward to al-Baharka Hospital becoming operational as soon as possible to serve the public and help those in need of medical services."

Since 2014, the federal government has provided more than USD 410 million in funding to the Iraqi and Kurdish health sectors. For example, in Mosul, the oncology clinic and the Ibn Al-Atheer children's hospital are being rebuilt. In Anbar, the mother-child hospital in Ramadi was rehabilitated shortly after the end of the conflict with IS. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, seven health facilities are also being supported in Anbar, Babylon, Dohuk, Erbil, Muthanna and Diwaniya governorates to care for people suffering from COVID-19.

A patient room with comprehensive equipment for monitoring patients.
A patient room with comprehensive equipment for monitoring patients.

KfW's commitment in Iraq

The armed conflicts in Iraq since the beginning of 2014 have led to one of the world's largest humanitarian crises. A total of around 6 million people, or around 15% of the population, were considered displaced by the rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS) from 2014 onwards. Since the defeat of IS in September 2017, around 5 million people have already returned to their homes. As of March 2022, around 1.18 million Iraqis are still considered internally displaced persons - for them, a functioning infrastructure - schools, universities, hospitals, water, and electricity supply - is a prerequisite for return.

FC supports the reconstruction and stabilisation of Iraq on behalf of the German Government with a current portfolio of more than EUR 1.37 billion. Cooperation with UNDP and other UN organisations currently accounts for the lion's share of the FC commitment, alongside the implementation of an untied financial credit (“UFK”) from the Federal Foreign Office in the amount of EUR 500 million. Since 2020, Iraq has also been one of the BMZ's "Nexus and Peace" partner countries, with which long-term development goals are being pursued.