The USAID Primary Health Care Project in Iraq (PHCPI) is working with the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH) to improve the quality of primary health care (PHC) services throughout the country. PHCPI is currently working in 298 target PHC clinics throughout all 18 provinces of Iraq. The project aims is to improve access to care among vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons, women, and children, as well as to engage key government and nongovernmental stakeholders to advocate for further investment in PHC.
At Hay Babil PHCC in Baghdad, PHCPI helped to establish a local health committee (LHC) as a mechanism for community members to play a greater role as advocates for PHC. Recently, the clinic’s LHC partnered with Women for Women International to host a health education symposium focused on women’s health. Topics included breastfeeding, breast cancer screening, and non-communicable diseases such as asthma, hypertension, and diabetes.
Women for Women International is an organization that supports women in war-torn regions with financial and emotional aid, job skills training, education, and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives. In Iraq, the organization assists many widows, orphans, and other women that have lost their financial support. “Due to the situation of the country, a large number of women need support”, said Mrs. Zainab Shakir, Manager of Women for Women in Iraq, “Our aim is to help them be independent.”
Providing health education to women is a critical step to promoting their independence as well as the health of their children and families. Mrs. Zainab said, “Our trainees are very thankful we had this symposium…and hope this can be done on a regular basis.”
PHCPI is continuing to support the Hay Babil PHCC to strengthen its community partnerships and promote women’s health.