PartnerAid UK has a partner project in the Dohuk province of Iraq, part of Kurdistan, working with Operation Mercy. Ancient churches in Dohuk have collaborated to run the Mar Narsai Charity Health Clinic for Refugees, providing free, high-quality healthcare to IDPs, regardless of religious or ethnic background. Operation Mercy was proud to partner with this clinic, and thanks Swedish Church Relief for their generous donation, used toward the purchase of an ultrasound machine for the health clinic.
A priest who returned to Dohuk after PhD studies in Rome two months before Mosul fell to ISIS, in the summer of 2014 realised this was not the time for business as usual. He redirected his fervor from studying theology to uniting the ancient churches of Dohuk for humanitarian projects. For over a year food and other supplies have been supplied to over 10,000 IDP families, and their health clinic serves 2,400 patients a month.
The health clinic is staffed by 32 volunteers,including specialists who serve on a rotating schedule. When Operation Mercy first visited the clinic, it was well-managed and well-supplied, but there was an outstanding urgent need for an ultrasound machine. In partnership with two other iNGOs, Operation Mercy has contributed toward the purchase of a $39,000 high-quality ultrasound machine, a Phillips ClearVue 350, enabling specialists to administer free, on-the-spot tests needed for accurate diagnoses. Before the purchase of this ultrasound machine, the clinic was borrowing an insufficient, older model from the Ministry of Health, and many patients opted to pay for a more upto-date test at a different facility, but now the clinic can offer the same high quality testing as other facilities, but at no cost to these IDPs.
One of the countless Yezidi families displaced by the ISIS attack on August 3, 2014, the twist in their story is that 3 of the 8 adults that fled the Sinjar area have physical and mental disabilities. Fleeing their village the oldest son and leader of the family after his fatherʼs death, sent his brother aged 27 and sister 30–both unable to walk due to childhood accidents–along with his own wife and two kids in a car toward Syria, while he wheeled his psychologically disturbed mother in a wheelbarrow across the Iraq/Syria border. As typical for most IDPs,it took time for them to find a safe place to live, and they journeyed from place to place before they stopped at a village where Operation Mercy is working.
Even then, their family was divided between two IDP camps and a rented house. He says, “I am always thinking about my disabled brother and sister.” To care for the special needs of disabled family members in the trauma of flight and displacement has been a burden too much for him to bear alone.
A local person asked Operation Mercy to provide wheelchairs for them. Having got to know the family during previous visits during his time off work, he was glad to arrive this time with the much-needed wheelchairs in-hand.