Roza’s road back to health

The first few weeks of Roza’s life were not what her parents, had planned for her. Before she was two weeks old, her family was forced to flee for their lives, leaving their home and livelihood behind.

“There was fighting in the village nearby. My cousins called me. They were trying to protect the village, but we could hear the fighting, so we fled,” recounted Olan, Roza’s father.

“We had taken enough food with us, but when we realised our neighbours and friends didn’t have any, we shared our food with them,” continued Olan. “How can I have enough to eat and watch them starve?”

Soon their little girl began to lose weight. “Roza was very thin. We were all hungry. I kept thinking she was going to die and I would have to leave her there on the mountain.”

After seeking refuge on Sinjar mountain for 10 days, the family moved to Sharya camp in Duhok with more than 18,000 other people displaced from Sinjar. When the family first arrived in Sharya camp, their tent had no cement foundations and would flood every time it rained. They cooked in the tent, but Bijwa, Roza’s mother, was often afraid the tent would catch fire.

Roza continued to be dangerously small for her age. When Roza was one year old, Medair community health workers visited her family’s tent and found Roza suffering from severe malnutrition. They referred Roza to the new nutrition programme that was starting at the Medair clinic nearby. Roza was the first child with severe malnutrition admitted to Medair’s feeding programme in Sharya camp.

“On first arrival, Roza was not particularly well attached to her mother and quite developmentally delayed,” said Sarah, the Health Project Manager at the clinic.

Yet after five months of treatment, Roza became interactive, well attached to her mother, and started walking.

“Medair worked hard to make sure Roza got better,” said Bijwa. “Before, she was always lying down and we thought she was going to die. Now she is very active and happy. Whenever we come to the clinic they give us good quality medicines and food for Roza. Medair is doing their best to care for our people.”


Medair’s clinic opened in December 2014 to provide essential health services to the displaced families living in Sharya camp. In August 2015, Medair began a nutrition programme that includes weekly feeding and monitoring for children who are malnourished or at risk for becoming malnourished.

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