From the Field | Healthcare for Hurting Iraqis
If you’re a parent, you know the helpless feeling when your child gets sick. You would do anything to protect them from pain—we all would. Fortunately for us in the West, our children have 24-hour access to the best doctors and medicine money can provide. We don’t have to watch them suffer without hope.
This is not the case for Iraqi refugees.
During our travels to Iraq last year, World Help became acutely aware of the lack of healthcare available to displaced families. Without even basic medication, simple fevers and ailments could quickly turn deadly. Injuries were left untreated and often became dangerously infected.
The circumstances were overwhelming. In many of the communities we visited, contagious skin diseases were rampant, and children lay listlessly in tents with high fevers. I watched as men, women, and children suffered needlessly . . . I knew we had to do something.
I met a man named Ahmed who was literally dying from a kidney stone. Had this been diagnosed several years earlier before the conflict in Iraq, he would have undergone a simple operation and his pain would have disappeared
But now as a refugee, that opportunity was impossible. He lived in a filthy, forgotten refugee community with 3,000 other desperate people. With no money and no access to a hospital, he could only lay in his tent in excruciating pain . . . waiting to die.
But his story didn’t end there. World Help was able to coordinate an emergency surgery for him . . . with maybe only days—hours—left to spare. I believe God led us to Ahmed that day.
Stories like this are tragically common in refugee communities. But thankfully, the door is wide open for us to make a significant difference.
Last year, in response to so many urgent needs, World Help launched our mobile medical clinic—the first of its kind in Iraq.
This fully outfitted clinic-on-wheels is staffed by a variety of medical professionals—a general practitioner, gynecologist, dentist, pharmacist, and lab worker.
On any given day, this clinic meets the needs of 70-100 people . . . free of charge. Our staff sees a variety of cases ranging from simple colds and infections, to physical injuries, to at-risk pregnancies.
I can’t tell you what an incredible difference this clinic has made here in Iraq. This outreach is, quite literally, the healing hands of God. But there are so many more in need of this healing.
I spoke with a man named Talal who lost his hand in a farming accident several years ago. After expressing my sympathy, he told me, “Don’t be sorry for this. It was an accident, but my fault; feel sorry for these persecuted Christians that are going through so much pain at no fault of their own.”
The persecution of his people was more painful to him than the level of pain and loss he had undergone on a personal level.
These are emotionally fragile people, having survived unthinkable trauma. Now they are vulnerable to disease and even more discouragement as a result. They do not need this extra burden in their already tragic situations.
That is why we must take preemptive action. We need to ensure these broken families have access to healthcare when they need it. We must step in on behalf of these parents who feel helpless, afraid, and alone.
Our vision is to mobilize an additional, smaller clinic, which will be sent ahead to assess the needs of new communities. This clinic will be staffed by a doctor and nurse team that can address small ailments and assign treatments in areas where healthcare is desperately needed.
Iraqi refugees need healing—body, mind, and soul. Will you consider making a gift that will help provide healthcare to some of the world’s most desperate people?
And please join me in praying that our love and gifts will point refugees to the One who healed us by His own wounds—our Great Physician.