Iraq: More than 15,500 Syrian refugees have access to primary healthcare services in the newly re-opened camp of Bardarash

In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Première Urgence Internationale is supporting the Syrian refugees who escaped the ongoing military operations in North East Syria. The NGO leads the revitalization of health facilities and the provision of primary and free health care services, to more than 150 patients a day.

On the 9th of October 2019, following the US forces withdrawal, the Turkish government started its military operation “Peace Spring” in North East Syria, an area hosting some of the most vulnerable people in Syria. This operation led to a massive population displacement to the South and West of Syria, as well as towards Iraq.

Around 18,000 individuals entered the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) to seek safety. Out of them, around 13,000 arrived during the first month through five main entry points located in the Northern part of the KRI and in Federal Iraq, in Fishkhabour, Ibrahim Al Khalil, Sahela, Alwaleed, Al Fao and Rabia, where humanitarian actors established reception centers.

Humanitarian community response to the crisis

Domiz camp was the first camp to be receiving refugees, as a temporary measure, in line with the contingency plan for the influx of Syrian refugees reactivated and updated by the Kurdistan Regional Government through the Joint Crisis Coordination center. Bardarash camp was then re-opened mid-October, followed by Gawilan camp, 30 kilometers south of Bardarash. Today, the camp of Bardarash has reached its full hosting capacity with around 15,500 individuals while Gawilan is hosting approximately 2,200 refugees.

Bardarash camp was built in 2014 to respond the internally displaced people crisis, and decommissioned in 2017 following the end of IS occupation. Première Urgence Internationale was one of the first actors to be present in the camp in 2014, and remained the main health actor until its closure in 2017.

Between 2014 and 2017, thanks to the funding of the CDCS (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and other donors, Première Urgence Internationale provided access to comprehensive primary health care services. The NGO put in place a set-up of primary health care activities, including outreach health education through out-of-camp mobile teams and referrals for secondary care. Première Urgence Internationale also implemented water, sanitation and hygiene activities.

Following the camp closure, in order to ensure continuity of the intervention, Première Urgence Internationale implemented another project funded by the CDCS aiming at supporting the return of the displaced communities of the camp to their communities of origin (Khorsebat, Darawish, Abujrboa, in Ninewa Governorate), through early recovery activities.

Supporting the camp’s reopening

From the 1st of December 2019, Première Urgence Internationale has resumed its support to the camp thanks to CDCS funding, in order to provide quality primary health care services with a strong focus on children under five years old, pregnant and lactating women and people with specific needs, including a referral pathway to secondary and specialized health care. Première Urgence Internationale is providing maintenance to the healthcare center, including its water and sanitation facilities, and supplying all non-medical equipment.

Health services are being provided by a skilled team of medical doctors, nurses and pharmacists (among others), to more than 150 patients per day. The set-up of a pharmacy and a basic laboratory is on-going, and all consultations as well as prescribed drugs are free of charge.


All these activities are implemented in coordination with the Directorate of Health (DoH) of Dohuk and Bardarash, UNFPA, MSF, UNHCR, in addition to Board of Relief and Humanitarian Affairs (BRHA), and the multiple other partners on the ground. Première Urgence Internationale would like to address its gratitude to the Centre de Crise et de Soutien which has generously supported this project, and for its collaboration over the past years. Première Urgence Internationale also thank the French Government for its generosity and trust.

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