Iraq: Improving health care for detainees in Kurdistan Region

29 March 2015
Iraq: Improving health care for detainees in Kurdistan Region
Prison directors and medical doctors attend a workshop on health care in detention organized by the ICRC in Erbil. @ICRC/S.Gay

Geneva / Erbil (ICRC) – A workshop on improving medical services in places of detention brought together over 30 officials and health professionals in Erbil on 29 and 30 March.

Run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), working closely with the Ministry of Health, the two-day Health Care in Detention workshop looked at best practices and experiences from around the world. Prison directors, doctors working in detention facilities run by the Kurdistan Regional government and the Federal authorities, and ICRC specialist staff shared their insights and experiences to improve health care in places of detention in Iraq's Kurdistan Region.

"In any country, proper health care in places of detention relies on a solid partnership and cooperation between the detaining authorities and the Ministry of Health," stressed Dr Raed Abu Rabi, who coordinates the ICRC's health in detention activities worldwide. "The ICRC is committed to supporting the authorities' efforts to apply best medical practices in detention facilities."

The workshop participants discussed important topics, such as access to health care, the public health approach in detention, medical ethics and the role of doctors, the effect of solitary confinement, and management of hunger strikes.

The ICRC visits detainees to monitor their conditions and treatment, and to bring about improvements where necessary. It discusses its findings directly and confidentially with the authorities concerned. The organization works closely with the authorities to upgrade water-supply and sanitation systems in places of detention. In 2014, ICRC staff visited over 40,000 detainees throughout Iraq. Over 18,000 detainees received hygiene items, clothes and recreational materials.

For further information, please contact:
Ralph El Hage (English and Arabic speaking), ICRC Baghdad, tel: +964 790 191 69 27
Avin Yassin (Kurdish speaking), ICRC Erbil, tel: +964 771 994 50 66


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