A counseling session for internally displaced persons in Iraq. Photo credit: URC

Middle East

The Middle East has made great strides in developing health systems in the region and improving the health status of its populations. The region’s mostly low- and middle-income countries have transitioned from a high communicable disease burden, including tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and vaccine preventable disease, to rising rates of non-communicable disease including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. Key health indicators – including life expectancy and maternal, neonatal, and under-five mortality – have improved significantly. Ongoing conflicts in the region threaten progress and refugee health challenges continue to strain health systems. Maternal and reproductive health needs are a priority to ensure population health and sustained development, as is equitable access to, and quality of, health services.

URC implemented the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) in Iraq and Afghanistan to enhance biosecurity and biosafety capacity through laboratory improvements and training.

URC’s early international work began in the Middle East and has continued to the present day through a range of global and bilateral projects. URC has supported ministries of health across the Middle East and North Africa to strengthen health systems, expand equitable health care to vulnerable populations including women and children, improve the delivery of primary health care, institutionalize quality improvement processes and quality standards in health care, and build health workforce capacity including in conflict situations.

URC reached the most remote areas of Iraq with a patient rights program. Photo credit: URC

URC’s experience in the region includes:

  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Morocco
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • West Bank and Gaza

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