Due to a distorted view of honor, women and girls are being denied treatment for coronavirus (Illustrative photo: Reuters)Due to the pervasive honor culture in Iraq, large numbers of Iraqi women and girls who have come down with COVID-19 (coronavirus) have not been transferred to medical centers for quarantine or able to receive treatment, according to Yasour.org.
An anonymous source told the Arabic news outlet about a typical case in Baghdad, “We were not allowed to transfer a woman that tested positive for the coronavirus to a medical quarantine facility because her family wouldn’t allow it.
“They said isolation is something shameful and contradicts their traditions and customs that don’t allow women to stay at other places [outside the home] without a chaperone.”
When a medical team came to take the woman to quarantine, her clan blocked the transfer.
Some cases have been reported where infected girls were transferred to quarantine facilities by medical teams against the families’ wishes.
Dr. Ali Al-Bayati, the high commission for human rights in Iraq said there are now cases of families gathering outside hospitals demanding their daughters back.
Al-Bayati blamed the problem on lack of awareness as well as the weakness of the Iraqi government. He also noted that, in general, many people infected with the virus ran away before they were to be transferred to quarantine facilities.
The problem is apparently so rampant in Iraq that activists on Twitter have started the hashtag #EpidemicofIgnorance.
At press time, the number of infected people in Iraq has been reported to be 574, with the number of deaths 42.
However, experts warn that Iraq has passed the stage where all new cases of infected people come from outside the country. Now people within the country are infecting each other.
Currently, the number of infected people in Iraq is still low, prompting Health Minister Jaafar Allawi to say, “We are still the best country in the world in terms of preventive measures against the coronavirus.”
However, Allawi acknowledged that “in the event of the high spread of the disease, as in other countries, we do not have the means to face it.”