The purchase of medical equipment for the Oncology Center in Duhok

Jan 19, 2020 | Eaglewatch in Iraq, Medical assistance

In the article summarizing 2019, I mentioned the purchase of medical equipment for the JIN Children Oncology Center in Duhok. Today I would like to tell you more about that undertaking.

Duhok is one of the largest agglomerations in Iraqi Kurdistan. The city, according to various estimates, has between 400,000 and 600,000 inhabitants. When in 2014 ISIS took over large parts of Iraq and Syria, thousands of refugees flooded to Duhok. The city itself avoided invasion, but it became a safe haven for people looking for shelter. That also included refugees from engulfed in war Syria who fled to Duhok three years earlier. Although many of them have by now returned home, there are still camps near the city occupied by those who are yet to go back.

Refugee camp in Khanke (about 10 km from Duhok).

The JIN Oncology Center

We visited the JIN Oncology Center for the first time in May 2018. Me, Piotr and Darek – who accompanied me during the visit – had a short conversation with Dr. Hasan, the center’s deputy director. Later we took a walk around the building. The corridors and the hospital rooms, where children are treated, appeared to be very decent. The personnel was making sure that sterile conditions were kept everywhere.

After the visitation, Dr. Hassan told us about the most serious problem faced by the department. Despite a huge number of patients, it lacked specialized diagnostic equipment.

The hospital was forced to send children to other medical centers for ultrasound and electrocardiogram examinations. The problem is that there is no ambulance in the JIN Oncology Center. To have those examinations done, little patients needed to be taken to remote hospitals by their own parents. Taxi transport was the only option for those without a car. And it needs to be emphasized that one-third of children treated in JIN are refugees. Such costs are a huge burden for them. But that is not all. In the summer temperatures in Duhok reach 50 °C. It is additional stress and effort for children fighting such a serious illness, impeding their heroic struggle.

I wrote on the piece of paper the names of equipment Dr. Hasan listed as the most essential ones and I told him we would do everything we could to help.

Half a year later the JIN Center was visited by the Polish government delegation led by Minister Beata Kempa from the Department of Humanitarian Aid. Bartek Rutkowski was a member of that delegation. Many of you will ask how Bartek found himself there. During one of the meetings with foundations organized by the Department of Humanitarian Aid, which was established at the beginning of 2018, the participants were requested to present their achievements in Iraq. As we have completed many projects there, which make us proud, Bartek decided to present them to the department. He must have made a good impression. It resulted in the above-mentioned visit as well as funding for projects which we received in 2018 and 2019.

The purchase of equipment

At the beginning of 2019 we applied for co-funding for the purchase of equipment for JIN. I will not explain all the complicated details related to such an undertaking, but after months of anticipation we finally succeeded. The application was positively considered and we received the funding. Our own contribution needed to be added as well. It amounted to 45,000 zlotys, which came from your donations. We purchased the equipment locally and after short negotiations with its supplier, there was an official handover ceremony. An ultrasound scanner, an electrocardiograph machine, a cardiac monitor, and a vein illuminator (a vein scanner) were delivered to the JIN Center in December 2019. What does the last one of these devices – a vain scanner – do?

A vein illuminator (a vein scanner) is a safe, portable, handheld device (it can also be kept on a stand) which is used for illumination of blood vessels to localize surface veins.

The device emits infrared light as well as visible and invisible laser radiation, which is used to localize surface veins and to highlight their position directly above veins.

(source: medshop.pl)

Since the handover of the equipment took place 4 days after our return from Iraq, the Eaglewatch Foundation was represented by Ramy Khlka, the President of the Gilgamesh Organization. Ramy organized the equipment’s purchase and transport and negotiated the best conditions for the transaction. He did an excellent job. He managed to negotiate an extended warranty and, despite some small difficulties, to deliver the equipment to the hospital.

The official handover was also attended by the Consul Dominik Musial and the Vice-Consul Stanisław Guliński from the Polish consulate in Erbil, as well as the representatives of the local media. For several days the local press wrote about Poland in superlatives, which made us even more proud.

The whole equipment cost 222 000 PLN (about 57 387 USD) – including transport and training of the hospital’s team.

See also

Poland Donates Medical Equipment to Oncology Hospital in Duhok

The Kurdish press wrote about the delivery of equipment to the JIN Oncology Center, financed by Poland (in English).

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