Children and their families are fleeing for a safe place to sleep – in the millions. But this new partnership is helping people protect their most important asset: health.

As conflict breaks out in Iraq, and armed groups move in to take over whole towns, parents are terrified for their children’s safety. Camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have been set up to house them.

In response, we’re combining our expertise in child protection with health care professionals International Medical Corps – and it’s one of our most impactful partnerships yet.

This groundbreaking partnership is providing healthcare to hundreds of patients a day in refugee camps where people are desperate for the basic needs to survive. Together, we’re preventing the spread of disease, treating medical emergencies and providing emotional support to children who have been witness to war.

When refugees flee their homes with nothing but their own health, this work is life-saving.

One young doctor is dedicating his life to helping children he sees as his own

Mamilian camp is located in a wheat field just west of Akre, Iraq. In the springtime its rolling hills are covered in the yellowish-green crop, which, under the strong summer sun, is baked into a golden brown. While the camp houses over 14,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), its streets are empty during the scorching mid-day hours. There are a handful of shops selling basic necessities, a school, a few child friendly spaces, and a primary health care clinic operated by International Medical Corps.

Darbaz Salih Hamza works part-time at the clinic which sees around 200-300 patients a day. He was born and raised in Akre and works at the Mamilian Camp clinic as a registration officer. Mr. Hamza is one of eight children and is the only one who works in the medical field. The 27-year-old has three children, whom he hopes will become teachers or doctors.

Mr. Hamza wishes to work at Mamilian because he wants “to help the people, to help the IDPs”.

Mr Hamza has been lucky – he’s never had to flee with his family. But he is moved by the stories of people who have. And feels a sense of duty to help. “The people who touch my heart most are the ones who fled from the Islamic State (IS) or children who have been orphaned,” he states. He remembers a child who fled his village with his uncle and has not seen his parents since. “When I meet these orphans, I always think of my own children,” he says.

Isabel Dunstan | 21st July 2015
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