Since 2010, IMI has been coordinating medical missions to Iraq for Arbaeen. From 2010-2019, IMI has had the honor of coordinating eleven medical missions during Arbaeen in Iraq. (Applications for the 12th Annual Arbaeen Medical Mission 2020 have been suspended temporarily due to COVID-19.Please stay tuned for further details as we assess the situation and plans for this year's mission.)
The initial Arbaeen Medical Mission involved one medical camp in Karbala in Babul Qibla with a 9-member international team and countless translators and local volunteers. Approximately 4000 pilgrims were provided care through this initiative. Since then, IMI’s Arbaeen Medical Mission has expanded, with 148,000 served in the 8th Annual Arbaeen Medical Mission in November-December 2016 through 3 separate camps: one at the Haram of Imam Hussain (A.S). and the other in the Haram of Hazrat Abbas (A.S.) in Karbala, as well as a medical camp just after Arbaeen at the Haaram of Imam Ali (A.S.) in Najaf. Our international delegations have increased in size as well with over 100 delegates from Europe, North America, South Asia and the Middle East.
During every Arbaeen Medical Mission, most of our physicians provided basic/GP level health and dental care. Some complex medical problems requiring specialist input and surgeries are also tackled during our time in Iraq. For example, during the 5th Arbaeen Medical Mission, a surgery was performed by plastic surgeon Dr Faheem Khadim on the arm/hand of a patient from Saudi Arabia who was shot on his way to Kazmain to ensure that his nerves were not severed and functionality of all of his fingers was preserved. In addition, two workshops were conducted at Kufa University: one on medical neutrality and another on neuro urology/neuromodulation. A workshop was also presented on mental health in Najaf.
One of the critical goals of IMI’s work in Iraq—something that sets us apart from all other clinics there—training for Iraqis, is also accomplished during the Arbaeen Medical Mission. During the last mission, Iraqi doctors and over 75 nursing students, as well as other health professionals, were able to benefit from hands on experience working with IMI delegates seeing both how care for patients is delivered medically but also ethically and through a systematic layered triage approach that includes patient sensitive, professional communication.