On April 27, 2017, IRIS hosted a roundtable entitled “War, Health, and Refugees in Iraq,” in partnership with the SEED Foundation and Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Anthropology. IRIS Research Fellow James ‘Mac’ Skelton, who is currently completing a PhD in Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, chaired the discussion.
The meeting brought together directors of public hospitals, humanitarian officials, and government actors to discuss the immediate and long-term realities of healthcare for the displaced and refugee populations. The importance of including both humanitarian organizations and public hospitals in the meeting arises from the fact that the vast majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) reside outside of refugee camps administered by NGOs and thus rely on local hospitals for health care needs.
This report highlights key takeaways from the discussion and puts forth policy recommendations to improve mobility and access, as well as to address budget cuts and pharmaceutical shortages.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Mac Skelton joined IRIS as a Research Fellow in May 2016. Skelton's research in Iraq, funded through fellowships from the Social Science Research Council as well as the American Research Institute in Iraq, focuses on Iraqis' experiences of cancer care under conditions of war post-2003. Skelton has published scholarly articles in the Lancet and the Journal of Global Oncology and is a contributor to Brown University's Costs of War project. He is currently completing a PhD in Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to doctoral study, he was Senior Fellow at the Business Council for International Understanding. He holds an MA in Anthropology from the American University of Beirut and a BA in Religion from Davidson College.
Sherri Kraham Talabany is the President and Executive Director of the Kurdistan -based SEED Foundation and U.S.-based SEED for Change, charitable organizations that promotes economic development, as well as social, educational, and economic development in Kurdistan.
Sherri was a senior official in the United States Government in Washington, D.C. for almost fifteen years, from 1998 – 2012, working on foreign policy, foreign assistance programming, and international development. She worked for the U.S. State Department from 1998 – 2003, starting her career working on Iraq and then in a variety of positions overseeing policies and programs worldwide. She then served as the Managing Director and later Deputy Vice President for Policy at the Millennium Challenge Corporation from 2004 – 2012, working with the poorest countries in the world to improve their policy environment to reduce poverty through economic growth.
Sherri is a lawyer who earned her degree in 1999 from George Mason University, in Virginia and currently resides in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. She has been involved in volunteer activities throughout her life, serving on non-profit boards and advocating on behalf of the poor and underserved, including vulnerable minorities and displaced people. She was recognized by multiple awards from several Secretaries of State and was awarded as DevEx’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’ Leaders in International Development in 2010.