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‘We raise hope’: Young nurse fights on Covid-19 frontlines in Iraq’s war-ravaged Mosul

Once a bustling city devastated during its liberation from Islamic State militants, Mosul is engaged in another life-and-death struggle – against Covid-19. Nurse Soror al-Husseini has told Ruptly about life on this new frontline.

The nature of her job is to focus on the patient’s “positive psychological state,” to give them the proper medication and to meet their needs where possible, Soror, a 23-year-old woman says.

She works in eastern Mosul’s al-Shifa hospital. The place was once the main Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) headquarters during the terrorist occupation of the city.

The building was severely damaged during the nine-month-long battle waged by the Iraqi forces with the support of the US-led coalition to wrench the city from the hands of jihadist extremists. Now, its renovated rooms and hall once again take in patients in need of medical assistance. 

The hospital now wages another battle as its quarantine wing is filled with men, women and children affected by the dreaded novel coronavirus that has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Saving lives in Mosul has once again become an urgent – if uneasy – task. 

Yet, Soror and her colleagues do everything they can to help despite the fact that a cure for the deadly disease has not yet been found. “Together with my colleagues, we work on the patient’s positive psychological state to [help them] overcome the disease with a strong immunity system,” the nurse told RT’s Ruptly video news agency.

Not all Mosul hospitals can boast being able to provide even such a remedy. The US-led coalition bombings between 2016 and 2017 severely damaged nine out of the city’s 13 hospitals and the recovery has been slow and painful. After the liberation, the city, reduced to ash, virtually laid in ruins for years. Even in 2019, most of the damaged health care facilities were unable to offer any kind of medical assistance.

Although young, Soror has already gone through a traumatic experience once before. She was involved in the taxing and dangerous job of clearing dead bodies from the streets following the city’s “liberation.” Thousands of dead bodies scattered around the Mosul ruins lay buried in rubble for years as a grim reminder of a battle that took the lives of more than 10,000 civilians. 

Also on rt.com ‘We are like the living dead’: Citizens of Mosul in despair 1.5 years after liberation from ISIS

“During almost six months we recovered more than 1,000 bodies,” the nurse recalls. Despite the “big difference” between her previous work and her current occupation, Soror admits that in ways the two jobs share depressing similarities.

“Here death risk occurs, and there too. The fatigue is the same here and there.”

Yet, despite all the dangers and long odds of beating the disease in a city that is still reeling from the previous catastrophe that befell it, Soror manages not only to keep her hopes up, but also to share her positivity with those fighting for their lives now on the ruins of the past battles. 

“We raised hope there. We had hope and wanted to create hope for people,” she said. “I will [inspire] hope and want to be a source of hope [for] people that they will survive.”

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