Keeping Hamdaniya healthy

Four years ago in Iraq, the biggest hospital in Hamdaniya was looted, set alight, and vandalized by ISIL. Today, it’s a thriving health facility serving more than 350,000 people, including some of Iraq’s ethnic minority groups.

Nurse Jindar stands for a photo at Hamdaniya hospital, her workplace of more than 30 years

Strolling through Hamdaniya hospital, you can’t help but notice its pristine condition. Hospital equipment glistens. Murals are freshly plastered on walls. Not a speck of dust is to be seen. And nurses are aplenty — some chatting together in their break room, others hurrying through the halls to attend to their patients.

A new operating theater in Hamdaniya Hospital, one of twelve

One of those nurses is 53-year-old Jindar. Originally from Qaraqosh, Jindar started working as a nurse in 1979 and has worked at Hamdaniya Hospital since the 80s. As a young girl, she dreamed of being a nurse. Her passion is helping women.

“I love working in the maternity ward, helping women bring new life into the world.”

Jindar dresses before she helps deliver a baby

When she fled ISIL in August 2014, Jindar didn’t stop working. She helped others who had fled — undertaking checkups, administering injections, and of course, delivering babies — sometimes in makeshift delivery areas like the roadside, the backseats of cars — wherever mothers were going into labour.

A baby receives treatment in the premature ward of Hamdaniya Hospital

“It was my duty to help them. They required the same level of medical care irrespective of the difficult circumstances they faced, and I did my best to give it to them,” she says.

Ninewa is unique. It’s home to Iraq’s myriad minority communities such as Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Shabaks, who were persecuted, as well as the Yazidis who suffered genocide at the hands of ISIL.

Across the province, UNDP is rolling out more than 1,800 projects, with over 200 of these focused on restoring health services to local communities.

A nurse comforts a patient about to undergo surgery

“In our consultations with the local government and communities, health was identified as a top priority in Ninewa. When ISIL ruled, communities across Hamdaniya were denied their basic right to access reliable, quality healthcare for far too long,” says Marta Ruedas, UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq.

“We’re working closely with the Government of Iraq to ensure local hospitals and healthcare centres are up-and-running as soon as possible, encouraging those who have fled to return to their homes, and helping them feel confident in the services offered,” she adds.

A nurse assists a doctor during an operation

The operating theatre at Hamdaniya Hospital is never short of action. Along with the maternity ward, about 15 babies are born here every day.

“I will continue to work here until I retire. I’ll never leave this hospital, I love it here and I love my job,” Jindar adds.

A patient is wheeled in for her Cesarean section at Hamdaniya Hospital

The hospital’s patients share a similar sentiment. Yazidi mother Duaa, 25, has been in and out of Hamdaniya Hospital over the past few weeks. Her newborn Fatima is 16-days old, and recently had an operation to remove an abscess in her chest. It’s a daunting process for any new mother, but Duaa was confident her daughter was in good hands.

A doctor performs a Ceaserean section on a patient

“We came here because it was recommended to us by friends for its excellent services,” Duaa says.

“I feel very comfortable here, the staff are very helpful and reliable. I felt like I could call them at any time of the night and they were always friendly and happy to help. This made the entire process much easier for me,” she adds.

After an operation to remove an abscess, 16-day-old baby Fatima recovers in Hamdaniya Hospital

Hamdaniya Hospital has been rehabilitated through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), with the support of USAID and the Government of France.

Photos: UNDP Iraq/Claire Thomas

About UNDP’s work in Iraq

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis after the ISIL conflict, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism.

FFS currently has more than 2,900 projects in 31 liberated towns and districts, helping local authorities quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure and services.

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