Future volunteers for the JCC crisis response teams
210 volunteers, over 60% of them being women, are trained to support medical personnel at public hospitals.
Article by Friederike Pommerehne and Elisabeth Pressler, Iraq
In a joint effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH), have started a new initiative in mid-July to strengthen the region’s health sector. 210 medical volunteers, over 60 percent of them being women, are trained to support medical personnel at public hospitals. This initiative is supported by the Qudra 2 programme in Iraq and recently made it to the local news.
The volunteers are unemployed graduates from medical schools from all governorates in KRI. They are deployed to their duty stations at public hospitals, and trained on the job by MoH experts for two months in the governorates of Erbil, Dohuk, Sulimaniya and Halabja. All volunteers hold a medical diploma or bachelor degree, and want to assist their communities in managing the current COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, they will gain relevant, practical job experience to advance their personal careers. By learning how to respond to a public health crisis, they could further qualify as future volunteers for the JCC crisis response teams.
The JCC has started to build up a pool of volunteers with different professional backgrounds across the country to serve as rapid response teams during times of crisis. This was initiated and guided by the expertise of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW). With 210 additional medical volunteers integrated, the system will be strengthened significantly. Dr. Dlovan M. Jalal, Director General of the General Directorate of Health in Erbil, added: “We highly appreciate GIZ’s kind contribution for the joint effort with JCC on ‘empowering volunteer’s medical service skills’. It is very crucial for the future careers of our volunteers, to advance their skills by supporting our medical teams to provide health services to patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic".
"...this training is the golden opportunity I have been waiting for ever since I have graduated"
Peshang Abdulkareem (27) was selected as one of the 210 medical volunteers. He graduated in 2014 from the Nursing Institute in Al Hasakeh, Syria, before he was forced to flee his home country and came to Erbil in 2018. Being grateful for the opportunity to volunteer, he stated:
“As a Syrian refugee in Erbil I am very pleased to participate in this project for medical staff. During my first month of training I have been able to strengthen my professional skills and gained a lot of practical experience through helping skilled permanent staff of the public hospital in their daily duties. Certainly, this training is the golden opportunity I have been waiting for ever since I have graduated".