Everything was burnt, and what was not burnt was destroyed.

Dr. Faiz Ibrahim AL-Hamdani,
Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital Director
to start

When we first came here, it was a pile of debris, a barren place. There was nothing we could use.

Ms Shatha Mahmood,
Senior Pharmacy Assistant, Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital


of wounded were children

In the final phases of the battle of Mosul in 2017, nearly half of patients admitted to the hospital were suffering weapons-related injuries, over a third of them children.

  • 2,800

    to 100 beds

    Before the battle in 2016, there were nearly 2,800 hospital beds in Mosul. After the battle, there were just 100 left. Six years later, there are still only 1,200 hospital beds across Mosul, while the city’s population has grown by 400,000.

  • 3,000

    patients a day

    Back in 2016, some 800 to 900 patients were referred to Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital every day. That number has grown to 3,000 today, but the hospital’s capacity has reduced by 90%.

Since 1985, Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital in northern Iraq, has been the city’s main health care provider, and a regional centre for medical research and teaching. A modern and well-equipped eight-storey public hospital, its bustling warren of operating theatres, wards, labs, and pharmacies, provided a full range of free or affordable, high-quality care to one million people in and around the country’s second-largest city, and the wider Nineveh Province.

Essential medical services included emergency operations, pediatrics, maternal and neonatal care, cardiology, and neurosurgery, and there was also a blood bank, a specialist spinal cord injuries unit, and staff accommodation located on the campus.

Staff left the hospital as soon as all patients were evacuated while the Battle of Mosul raged from October 2016 to July 2017 as Iraqi armed forces and their international supporters fought to dislodge Islamic State fighters from the city.

The battle was a brutal campaign of urban warfare, with trapped civilians caught up in door-to-door fighting, sniper fire, car bombings, landmines, artillery shelling, and airstrikes that reduced much of Mosul to rubble in what proved to be one of the largest city sieges since World War II. During the course of these nine months of intense fighting, nearly one million residents fled the city, while others remained. In the final phases of the battle, nearly half of patients admitted to the hospital were suffering weapons-related injuries, a third of them children.

When the medical infrastructure is destroyed, services can’t be simply provided out in the streets.

Dr. Faiz Ibrahim AL-Hamdani,
Director, Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital

Bombing raid on the Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital


people displaced

Over half of the city’s 1.4 million people fled during the Battle of Mosul. An estimated 9,000 to 11,000 civilians were killed, while 138,000 houses were destroyed or damaged, including 53,000 in West Mosul alone.

Although there was destruction, there was hope as well.

Safwan Kamil Mohammad,
Senior Craftsman at Engineering and Maintenance Service, Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital

Health facilities are protected under the Geneva Conventions, but located just a kilometre from the front line, Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital was caught in the crossfire and was eventually so severely damaged that health care services halted altogether.

Doctors and medical staff took huge risks to salvage equipment from bombed and looted ruins of the hospital, and soon resumed services in different temporary locations around the city, but capacity fell by 90% and more than five years on, the hospital has not yet been rebuilt, leaving hundreds of thousands of children and adults struggling to access basic healthcare, or treatment for chronic conditions.

For months after the fighting ended, civilians continued to need life-saving surgery after falling victim to unexploded ordnance and booby traps left scattered about the city. Before the war, Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital would receive up to 21,000 patients a month for operations and treatment, and its 600 beds were often full. Today, in its main temporary location, it can offer only 260 beds, crammed into a structure that was built for 100, and a much-reduced service.

The destruction of Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital symbolises the collapse of the healthcare system caused by the war. The impacts are widespread and long-lasting with the increased pressure on remaining health facilities meaning people suffer for longer before receiving treatment or surgery, while chronic diseases worsen with time. Given that reality, the rebuilding and reopening of Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital – a 230 million dollar project expected to be completed in 2027 – is a matter of life and death.


An international or governmental effort to support the healthcare sector in Mosul is what is needed right now.

Dr. Faiz Ibrahim AL-Hamdani,
Director, Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital

Bombing and shelling densely populated towns and cities can destroy healthcare facilities, such as Mosul Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital, just when people need them most. It causes deaths, disabilities and diseases that could have been avoided.

Too often dismissed as “collateral damage”, the targeting of healthcare facilities and their staff almost always violates international humanitarian law, and disrupts the essential services they provide to communities, and facilitates the spread of infectious diseases, putting further lives at risk. Sometimes the disruption is so severe that the entire healthcare system collapses.

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