Finland has committed 2 million euros to support Iraq’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The support is part of Finland’s development cooperation carried out in Iraq and will be channelled via the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
According to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the main part of Finland's support will be directed to strengthen the operation of hospitals and healthcare centres that are responding to the pandemic.
Funding will be used to procure personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, to increase the number of isolation wards for those who are ill, and to strengthen laboratories’ testing capacity. Additionally, UNDP supports Iraq in the preparation of its post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.
Activities will focus on the most vulnerable healthcare units, including hospitals and healthcare stations in Anbar, Basra, Diyala, Dohuk, Karbala, Kirkuk, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din.
Finland’s support to the UNDP-administered FFS in Iraq since 2015 totals 11 million euros, including the new contribution.
The Facility promotes the stabilisation of Iraq in its recovery from a long conflict and advances the reconstruction of territories liberated from ISIS. "Terrorist organisations continue to be active in Iraq, seeking to take advantage of the social and economic instability caused by the pandemic," the Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in a press release.
The conflict has left over a million internally displace people in Iraq. Recently, the country has suffered from an abrupt crash in oil prices and a consequent collapse of government revenue.
“Iraq is facing a multitude of challenges as it recovers from a long conflict. Finland wants to support the stability of Iraq and to strengthen its preparedness and response to the Covid-19 emergency. UNDP is in the frontline supporting Iraq’s national healthcare system in tackling the outbreak,” says Vesa Häkkinen, the Finnish Ambassador to Iraq.