Prepare for, respond to and recover from COVID-19 with speed and agility

UNDP is supporting the Government of Iraq to prepare, respond and recover from immediate and medium-term effects of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time. In addition to being a health crisis, it is also a social, economic and political crisis. Every day, people's employment, livelihoods and income are being impacted, with no way of knowing when stability will return. While the spread has also exposed deep-rooted social gaps, resulting in communities and groups exposed to stigma.

In response to the COVID-19, the Government of Iraq began to implement measures in February 2020, amid its existing political, economic, security and social challenges. This includes containing and preventing the further spread of the virus, boosting the health system, engaging with communities and revising travel norms. Despite these measures, the cases of COVID-19 continue to increase.

Our Support

UNDP has been supporting the Government of Iraq since the early stages to minimize the spread of COVID-19, reduce the loss of life and the impact upon the economy, but also actively build social cohesion.

To ensure agile and quality implementation, UNDP Iraq is leveraging existing mechanisms and resources to support its response. Overall, UNDP has mobilized US$41.02 million for COVID-19 response with funds from new contributions and donor-approved re-purposing of funds.

Our Strategy

Our Impact

Socio-Economic Impact

A series of policy papers examining the multidimensional impact of COVID-19 on Iraq’s Fragility, on the Iraqi EconomySocial CohesionSocial Protection Environmental Sustainability and Vulnerable Populations have been published. The papers make key policy recommendations to the Government of Iraq, the United Nations system and development partners to support Iraq’s recovery from COVID-19 and ultimately build forward better from the pandemic.

Stories of Strength

Iraqi heroes confronting COVID-19 in Diyala and Kirkuk

Meet Dr. Ali Abdullah Abbas, a Senior physician in Baquba General Hospital.

“In the hospital, we must wear full personal protective equipment in this hot weather with a double mask, a head cover, and a shoe cover. In addition to that, we wear suits designed for medical and paramedical staff to protect ourselves from contracting the virus,” says Dr. Ali Abdullah Abbas, a Senior physician in Baquba General Hospital.

To ensure improved healthcare in Baqubah General hospital in Diyala, the establishment of 20 isolation units, with support from UNDP Iraq, was completed in early September 2020. Similarly, North of Diyala in Kirkuk, a new isolation unit to support COVID-19 patients was also completed around the same period.

Fighting COVID-19 and gender inequality

Meet 29-year-old Biomedical Engineer Walaa who is leading a healthy committee in Anbar.

Given their importance in responding to COVID-19, involving women in the decision-making positions is critical. UNDP has encouraged women in Iraq to take a leading role in tackling the pandemic.

For instance, 29-year-old Biomedical Engineer Walaa was recently appointed as the head of the committee responsible for supervising the delivery and installation of the medical equipment in Anbar.

"It is crucial to be part of such a committee, as very few women are visible in the workplace in Iraq. Those with my expertise are almost non-existent. It is difficult for women to get the approval of their family, relatives and society overall to work as an engineer. I love my job, and the distance that I have to travel does not matter as long as I achieve my goals," shares Walaa.

Raising awareness through Let's Beat Corona campaign

The Let's Beat Corona campaign raised awareness among millions of Iraqis.

"I was infected with COVID-19 and had to suffer its symptoms for nearly ten days, including fever," said Zena Sabah, from Baghdad. "I tried to keep my mind off my illness. I took prescription medication and vitamins to boost my immunity while continuing to work from home and exercising. This is how I beat the virus."

Zena shared her story to help raise awareness of the virus, its common symptoms and the importance of mental health and wellbeing to recovery. These were among the key objectives of the Let's Beat Corona campaign.

The online and offline campaign reached over 31.7 million people across Iraq.

The faces of the frontline response in Karbala

Meet 21-year-old nurse Zainab who works at the Al-Hussein Hospital in Karbala.

“COVID-19 has had an impact in all aspects of life – not just for healthcare,” explains Zainab, 21-year-old nurse at the Al-Hussein Hospital in Karbala. “More people are suffering in poverty due to the pandemic, and the added pressure is causing problems in the family home too,” she adds.

Zainab is a part of dedicated front line workers in Karbala who are on the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, providing care, a warm meal, a clean workspace or a new isolation unit.

UNDP is building an isolation unit at King Hussein Hospital in partnership with the Government of Iraq, with support from USAID.

Messages of hope from residents of Ramadi

Meet Rabeha, 69-year-old resident of Ramadi who cares for both her grandchildren.

Currently, UNDP supports the people of Ninewa, Anbar, and Salah al-Din who are affected by COVID-19 by distributing food and hygiene packages, awareness-raising, and sterilization of public spaces. These efforts are driven by joint efforts between the Local Peace Committees, civil society organizations, local authorities, and UNDP, with funding from Denmark. To date, we have reached over 111,000 Iraqis.

During one of the outreach activities, UNDP spoke to residents of Ramadi from the Anbar Governorate. "The Iraqi people are generous and helpful people, and they always stand together and unite during adversity," says Rabeha, a 69-year-old resident of Ramadi.

Timely response to the people of Iraq has been possible thanks to the support and funding by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America.


Photo: UNDP Iraq