Combatting COVID-19 Pandemic
In April 2020, the first Shifa Care and Emergency Center was established in Karbala by the holy shrine of Imam Hussain. Its aim was to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health in addressing the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide medical services to the people of the province and its visitors.
The first centre was built within 15 days, right after the peak of the virus in March 2020. It was constructed on the land where the former Karbala International Fair used to be. It has a capacity of 60 beds.
Isolation Centres Across Iraq
Since the opening of the first centre in Karbala, the Holy Shrine of Imam Hussain has opened more than 13 Shifa Centers to treat COVID-19 patients and provide them with necessary medical services in Najaf, Baghdad, Dhi Qar, Basra, Wasit, Diyala, Maysan, Diwaniyah, Muthanna, and Anbar.
The holy shrine of Abul Fadhl al-Abbas also opened special centres for treating patients affected by the COVID-19 virus. These special centres are known as Al-Hayat Buildings, providing isolation wards and urgent care to coronavirus patients.
Seven Al-Hayat buildings were opened in different provinces of Iraq. Four of them are in Karbala, while others are in Muthanna, Babylon, and Baghdad.
However, during the pandemic, many countries faced shortages of medical equipment and supplies. Like many other countries, Iraq also faced a shortage of medicinal oxygen. Since the non-availability of oxygen can be fatal for critical patients of COVID-19, providing timely oxygen is crucial to saving lives.
The Al-Warith Spring Plant (Nab’a Al-Warith) is an industrial plant for producing medical oxygen, set up by the Imam Hussain Shrine. It provides oxygen cylinders to hospitals and households free of charge. It has been beneficial to many poor families undergoing home quarantine.
The shrine of Abul Fadhl al-Abbas also opened two plants for manufacturing medical oxygen, one in Najaf and the other in the province of Dhi Qar. These efforts have greatly helped the medical personnel in the fight against the pandemic.
On one hand, the holy shrines helped establish these isolation wards and care centres. On the other hand, strict measures were taken to ensure that the COVID-19 safety protocols were being observed by the staff and visitors both in and around the premises of the holy shrines.
Apart from this, the shrine management helped provide food and medical aid to pilgrims and visitors. Schools operated by the holy shrines gave fee cuts. Hospitals gave free or discounted treatments to needy families. In short, the holy shrines stood with the people and the country with all their resources during the worst of the pandemic.