Health system in Mosul remains broken one year after defeat of Islamic State

MOSUL (Reuters) - A year after Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul from Islamic State the city’s healthcare system remains broken, its hospitals lie in ruins and even basic services are lacking, according to aid groups.

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The government retook Mosul with help from a U.S.-led coalition and Kurdish forces a year ago but 380,000 people were displaced from the northern city, which had a population of 2 million prior to its capture by the militant group in June 2014.

The fighting caused 8 million tons of debris, the Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement. It is one of many international organizations and governments helping with relief and rehabilitation.

Nine of the city’s 13 hospitals are damaged and that means there are 1,000 hospital beds available rather than 3,000, said Heman Nagarathm, Iraq Head of Mission for MSF, Doctors Without Borders.

“There are not enough facilities or bed capacity available,” he said, adding that the current numbers were half the internationally accepted minimum standard.

MSF said that in May it received 3,557 cases at the emergency room of its west Mosul hospital of which 95 percent were caused by unsafe living conditions, such as people falling from damaged buildings or walls or buildings collapsing.

Most war-wounded patients needed follow-up care after receiving hasty surgery on or behind the frontlines during the fighting and now need additional surgery, MSF said.

“A lot of people have been treated during the conflict and still need follow-up and also need further surgeries,” he said.

Last April, MSF opened a post-care facility at a hospital in East Mosul to provide services for people injured by violent or accidental trauma during fighting to retake the city.

The facility has a mobile operating theater, a 33-bed in-patient ward where people can recover from surgery, mental health services and a rehabilitation unit to be run in partnership with Handicap International, MSF said in a statement.

MSF has worked in Iraq since 1991 and it offered medical services to people caught in the battle against Islamic State.

Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg