A survivor from behind hospital doors

Um Qassem had been working as a midwife in Anbar province in Iraq since 2003 when the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) swept across large parts of her country in mid-2014, turning her and many other women’s lives into a nightmare, especially when the group tried to recruit her.

 

“ISIL constantly threatened me, my husband, and my family, as well as other doctors and nurses. We were working under fear; I was emotionally devastated but I had to put on a brave face for my patients who are bringing life in such a challenging environment.”
The group had turned the maternity ward into an emergency room for its fighters and gave the medical staff a small room for deliveries, forcing women to pay 21,000 ISIL pounds (approximately US$ 40) while childbirth was free at that time.
“One woman walked in without money, she was in a critical condition and needed to go into the delivery room immediately. The head midwife that ISIL had appointed refused to let her in, so I threatened to quit if we did not admit the woman. I knew that I was risking my life by such action, but the woman and her baby would have died if I had not spoken up.”
ISIL fighters took all the hospital’s equipment with them when they left to Raqqa, and burnt down the building.
“I felt as if my world had just fallen apart. This hospital was my home; I have been working here for 15 years,” she remembers.
“The biggest challenge is to get these women through the delivery and promise them a beautiful healthy baby. The main challenge is to meet the influx of deliveries and the potential complications of a birth,” she said.
UNFPA has been supporting Al-Qaim hospital since early December 2017, providing a fully-equipped Mobile Delivery Unit (MDU) and directly contributing financial and logistical support to the reproductive health team of one gynaecology specialist, three medical assistants, three midwives and support staff, and covering the cost of generators and waste management.
UNFPA also made sure that an established referral system was available for the transfer of complicated cases in need of surgery to more specialized services.
During the first quarter of 2018, UNFPA- supported medical team in Al Qaim hospital assisted in 378 normal deliveries.
UNFPA is currently in discussions with the Government of Iraq on the implementation of training programmes for midwives across the country, including specifying the role of midwives, pre-service trainings in nursing schools, as well as in-service trainings.
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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
For more information or media inquiries please contact: Salwa Moussa, Communications Analyst, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNFPA
Last modified on Tuesday, 08 May 2018 23:11
  • Note on methodology

    In analyzing civilian casualties, UNAMI utilizes as wide a range of sources and types of information as possible, which are analyzed for reliability and credibility. Attempts are made to crosscheck and verify such information from other sources before conclusions are drawn and published. Sources include, for example, testimony of victims, victims’ relatives, witnesses, and evidence provided from health personnel, community elders, religious and civil leaders, local, governorate and central Government departments and officials, UN and other International Organizations, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) and UNAMI Security Section (SSI), media reports, members of the international community, civil society, and NGOs. Where security does not permit direct access to the location of an incident, UNAMI relies on a range of techniques to gain information through reliable networks.

     Every effort is made to ensure that data contained in UNAMI reports is as comprehensive as possible; however, the data presented is not exhaustive. Where UNAMI is not satisfied with the evidence concerning a particular incident it will not be reported. In some instances, investigations may take several weeks before conclusions can be made. This also means that conclusions concerning particular incidents or alleged violations may be adjusted as more information comes to hand and is analyzed. However, if information is equivocal, then conclusions will not be drawn until more satisfactory evidence is obtained, or the case will be closed without conclusion and it will not be included in statistical reporting or analysis. As information is updated, and conclusions and statistics are modified, this can result in slight differences in reporting of the same incident or variations in statistics reported by UNAMI over time.

    In some incidents where civilian casualties are alleged, the status of the reported victim(s) as civilian is disputed or is equivocal.  In such cases UNAMI is guided by all the information to hand, as well as the applicable standards of international humanitarian and human rights law in determining whether the victim should be classified as a civilian, as a person actively participating in hostilities, or as status unknown.

    In light of the above-noted limitations in methodology, UNAMI does not claim that the information it provides is complete, and it may well be that UNAMI is under-reporting the extent, nature or seriousness of the effect of armed violence and acts of terrorism on the civilian population.

    CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: 2008-2012

  • Summary

    Month Killed Injured
    December 2018 32 32
    November 2018 41 73
    October 2018 69 105
    September 2018 75 179
    August 2018 90 117
    July 2018 79 99
    June 2018 76 129
    May 2018 95 163
    April 2018 68 122
    March 2018 104 177
    February 2018 91 208
    January 2018* *** 119 269
    December 2017 * ** 69 142
    *November 2017 117 264
    October 2017 114 244
    September 2017 203 389
    August 2017 125 188
    July 2017 241 277
    June 2017 415 300
    May 2017 354 470
    April 2017 317 403
    March 2017 548 567
    February 2017 392 613
    January 2017 403 924
    *December 2016 386 1066
    November 2016 926 930
    October 2016 1120 605
    September 2016 609 951
    August 2016* 473 813
    July 2016 * 629 1061
    June 2016 382 1145
    May 2016 * 468 1041
    April 2016 410 973
    March 2016 575 1196
    February 2016 410 1050
    January 2016 490 1157
    December 2015 506 867
    Novemer 2015 * 489 869
    October 2015 * 559 1067
    September 2015 537 925
    August 2015 585 1103
    July 2015 844 1616
    June 2015 665 1032
    May 2015 665 1313
    April 2015 535 1456
    March 2015 729 1785
    February 2015 611 1353
    January 2015 790 1469
    December 2014 680 1360
    November 2014 936 1826
    October 2014 1089 2074
    September 2014 1084 2084
    August 2014 1533 1994
    July 2014 1384 2122
    June 2014 1775 2351
    May 2014 798 1607
    April 2014 745 1836
    March 2014 640 1845
    February 2014 862 2377
    January 2014 756 1650
    December 2013 661 1201
    November 2013 565 1186
    October 2013 852 1793
    September 2013 887 1957
    August 2013 716 1936
    July 2013 928 2109
    June 2013 685 1610
    May 2013 963 2191
    April 2013 595 1481
    March 2013 229 853
    February 2013 418 704
    January 2013 319 960
    December 2012 230 655
    November 2012 445 1306


    Please note that all figures remain estimates until full investigation and analysis has been carried out.

    *All casualty figures in the table include Anbar casualty figures, apart from the months marked with an asterisk (*).

    ** Figures include police in non-combat function, Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, and fire department personnel.

    *** Revised figures to include police in non-combat function, Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, and fire department personnel.

     

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