Driving down the streets of Mosul, every block has a house or shop that was bombed. The remaining rubble is a sign of the final battles to retake the city from the Islamic State group in August 2017, which left the city devastated. Over the last couple of years, it has slowly rebuilt. Hospitals have reopened, alongside the university and many of the shops and schools.
But the health system has been slow to recover: many medical staff fled the city or country altogether during the fighting. High unemployment means it is even harder for most people to afford the medical care that is available, including for their families.
The Nablus Hospital in West Mosul is one of the lucky buildings that remained untouched during the conflict. It’s an old public health community centre that Médecins Sans Frontières converted into a hospital during the battle for Mosul. Initially serving war-wounded, the facility now houses a maternity unit, an emergency room and an inpatient department for newborn and paediatric care.
As Nursing Activity Manager at Nablus Hospital for four months, I oversaw two paediatric wards – one providing general care to children aged one month to 14 years, with conditions like asthma and bronchiolitis, and the other housing an intensive therapeutic feeding program. Most children in this nutrition program were there due to previous medical complications rather than food security. I also oversaw the newborn unit for babies aged under 28 days, including some who had never left the hospital.