A small clinic set up inside a church in Kirkuk provides treatment free of charge for low-income patients, including those who are infected with the COVID-19 virus. The clinic has been providing free service for 15 years.
The clinic was established by Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Set up inside the Qalb al-Aqdas (Sacred Heart) Cathedral in Kirkuk City, the clinic was meant to provide treatment for all the residents of Kirkuk regardless of their religious or ethnic background. During the ISIS war, they treated the injured and later those who were displaced. Currently, they are treating Coronavirus patients as well.
We provide different services, including general examination, laboratory tests and medicine, all free of charge, and for everyone without difference
Dina Na’il Haddad, the clinic’s director, told KirkukNow: “The clinic’s doors are always open to help people, even on Fridays from 8:00 to 12:00. We provide different services, including general examination, laboratory tests and medicine, all free of charge, and for everyone without difference.”
Each week, a different medical specialist, such as a gynecologist, a dentist, a dermatologist, etc. is present in the clinic.
Dina Na’il Haddad, the clinic’s director
“We received the highest number of patients during the ISIS war and the subsequent wave of displacements from 2014 to 2017. At that time, more than 70 doctors and assistants were working on a volunteering basis,” Dina added.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the numbers of patients visiting the clinic once again increased.
We have also provided treatment and medication for some patients with chronic diseases
Dina said: “We have also provided treatment and medication for some patients with chronic diseases. And if a patient was in need of urgent examination, we would give them a reference letter so that they get examined somewhere else for free.”
In August 2015, the American aid organization Mercy gave the clinic’s staff a certificate of appreciation for the help they provided to the IDPs.
According to Dina, since the outbreak of the COVID-10 virus, at least 250 patients infected with the novel virus were treated in the clinic.
Hamdiya Midhat, one of the displaced persons from Fallujah, has several times made use of the services the clinic provides. She says she has benefitted from the service the doctors provided free of charge, especially the dentists.