While possibilities to access victims of war and violence are limited in many parts of Iraq due to the high level of insecurity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is finding new ways to provide assistance to the Iraqi population. Apart from supplying hospitals in different parts of the country with medicines and medical materials, in 2007 MSF teams started to work in hospitals in the relatively safe northern provinces, were a number of patients from the conflict zones are treated. These are the testimonies of three of these patients.
Kamal is a young man of 22. He is lying on a bed in the intensive care ward after having undergone surgery on his left leg. His arms and his face are heavily burnt; he is covering the scars with a towel while he speaks:
"I am from Baghdad. My job is to work as a guard for a security company. About two weeks ago, we were travelling from the north towards Baghdad in a convoy to deliver goods. I was sitting on the first car, a pick-up-truck. Suddenly there was an explosion. I went unconscious. When I woke up for some seconds I saw the driver of my car lying next to me — he was dead. The other two men in the car were also wounded. They brought us to this hospital. I have several fractures in my left leg and these burns on my face, my arms and my side. In total 22 per cent of my body surface was burnt. I had surgery on my leg. All in all, I am happy I am still alive. When I get out of the hospital I will continue to work as a guard. Life has to go on!”
In the same ward, an elderly man is sitting next to the bed of a young boy:
"Yousif is my niece’s son. He is 12 years old. Two weeks ago, while they were having a family gathering in Baghdad, terrorists attacked their house. They killed Yousif’s father and his eight-year-old brother, also the wife of his uncle, who was pregnant, and another uncle. The house is completely destroyed, everything they had is gone. Yousif got shot in his leg. He suffered multiple fractures. First we brought him to a hospital in Baghdad, but even there we did not feel safe. So we came here in a private car. He had to undergo surgery. He will get well and can continue his life, his studies. But we will never go back to Baghdad. Yousif’s father was a brilliant man, he was an engineer. I told the boy that his father was still alive, but he answered: