Newsletter 2001

Issue number 7 Autumn 2001

FOREWORD FROM THE CHAIRMAN

The tragic and painful events of the 11th of September bring to the fore the precarious situation in which humanity finds itself today. We as a Charity, concerned with preserving and maintaining the wellbeing of children, strongly and unreservedly condemn the loss of so many innocent lives in the United States of America. We offer our condolences and heartfelt sympathy to all the bereaved families. At the same time, we feel a deep concern for the loss of lives of innocent people, many of them children, in Afghanistan.
It seems that today, more than at any other time, there is a need to bring nations together in peace and establish equal rights and justice for all. Let us avoid wars that bring about so much suffering and rely, instead, on international law and peaceful means to achieve justice and create a better future for all our children.
I would like to now update our supporters on MAIC's achievements over the last twelve months. MAIC has been able to supply various paediatric hospitals in Iraq with medicines and medical equipment worth £277,433. For the same period, we were able to raise around £243,800 in funds from donations as well as fundraising activities. In a new addition to our contribution slip provided on the last page of this Newsletter, MAIC is introducing a new scheme of monthly direct debit donations. For a small amount each month, your support can make the world of difference to a sick child in Iraq. We need your support now more than ever in order to carry on with our much needed humanitarian projects for the coming year.
As always, my sincerest thanks and appreciation go out to all our generous donors as well as to the hard working and dedicated MAIC team. I would like to end by wishing you all a happy and peaceful year ahead.

May Al-Daftari


REVIEW OF FUNDRAISING EVENTS
DECEMBER 2000-DECEMBER 2001

-On the 9th of May 2001, MAIC held its Annual Dinner
under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan at The Brewery in London. Over 220 guests attended the evening. Her Majesty gave a moving speech highlighting the suffering of the Iraqi children under sanctions. During the dinner, there was a screening of a short documentary film commissioned by MAIC depicting the Charity's work in Iraq to date. This was followed by a delightful violin recital by the young Nazrin Rashidova, accompanied by the highly acclaimed Sara Arranson on accordion and Linn Hendry on piano. The recital was generously donated by the artists. Additional entertainment was provided by the BT Melodians Steel Orchestra as well as the DJ Jamil Daher.

- During the event, the donations of many generous
supporters guaranteed funding for two consignments of medicines and medical equipment to several paediatric hospitals in Basra and Baghdad. The auction, the raffle and the draw for a Smart car, also contributed towards raising the overall sum of over £214,000.


ADDRESS GIVEN BY HER MAJESTY
QUEEN RANIA AL-ABDULLAH OF JORDAN
AT MAIC'S ANNUAL DINNER, 9th MAY 2001


Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour to be here tonight. Our event takes on a special significance, because it is not embedded in the past, but ultimately looks to the future. The future, not seen through the eyes of a politician or an economist but seen in its most pure, sincere and innocent form, through the eyes of a child.

Today, as far as the children of Iraq are concerned, the future must look pretty grim. I'm sure you all know the statistics, but I'll repeat some of them anyway. According to a UN study, more than 570,000 children have died from malnutrition and preventable disease between 1990 and 1998. Medical Aid for Iraqi Children puts the current figure at over 1 million deaths. UN agencies also estimate that over 6,000 children are dying every month and the list goes on. But we are not here to get bogged down by statistics. We all understand that statistics don't make humans; humans make statistics. So tonight, as global citizens, we gather to re-affirm our deep rooted commitment to reverse these painful trends and clear in whatever way possible the lens through which Iraqi children view the world.

We are also here to acknowledge the noble efforts of an organisation that has made a difference in the lives of thousands of Iraqi children. For the past six years, the Medical Aid for Iraqi Children has worked under the harshest of conditions to extend assistance to paediatric hospitals in Iraq. Be it through your regular shipments of urgently needed medicines, equipment and books or through your intensive care units, your initiative has been heartfelt and sincere. I would like to extend my thanks and deep gratitude to each and every single staff member and supporter of MAIC for your unwavering commitment, personal involvement and generosity.

Your organisation has provided us with a solid vehicle through which we can siphon our contributions and efforts, and rest assured that the familiar faces I see tonight will support your noble cause as they have done on numerous occasions in the past.

Thank you for inviting me to join you tonight.
I wish you strength and continued success.

Thank you very much.


UPDATE OF MEDICAL DELIVERIES
TO PAEDIATRIC HOSPITALS IN IRAQ
December 2000 - December 2001


Table 1:
Consignment of Medical Supplies, Delivered on 28/8/2001

Total Value

Contents
Receiving Hospitals in Iraq
£107,000
approx.
- Anti-cancer drugs

- Cardiac and anti-convulsant medicines

- Antibiotics and anti-sickness medicines

- Vitamins, minerals and
antiseptics

- Surgical equipment

- Medical Books

- BMA Medical Books*
- Al-Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Baghdad

- Central Paediatric Teaching
Hospital, Al-Tifl Al-Markazi,
Baghdad

- Al-Karamah General Hospital, Paediatric Dept., Baghdad

- Al-Kadissiya General Hospital, Paediatric Dept., Baghdad
*The British Medical Association (BMA) kindly donated a total of 1200 medical textbooks. As agreed with the BMA, MAIC delivered and distributed the books to eight hospital medical libraries in Iraq.

This consignment was funded by the generosity of the following donors: The Karim Rida Said Foundation (KRSF) sponsored anti-cancer drugs, Mrs Mazin Al-Daftari, Shell International sponsored antibiotics, Mrs Fatima Jaidah, Mr Ali Al-Daftari, Mr & Mrs Hamid Damerji, Mrs Dania Sakka, Mr A. Ercklentz, Mr & Mrs Jihad Tabbara, Mr Amin Faltas, Mr & Mrs I. Sinclair as well as various anonymous donors.


Table 2:
Consignment of Medical Equipment, Delivered on 29/11/2001

Total Value

Contents
Receiving Hospitals in Iraq
£121,300
approx.
- 20 x Trephine bone biopsy needles (children & adult)
-ABL 625 radiometer & its reagents

- 2 x Blood cell separators & their accessories

- 24 x Children's wheelchairs
100 x Walking aids for cerebral palsy patients
(infant & junior)

- 36 x Hickman catheters for intravenous infusion (infant, children & adult)

- 300 x Face masks for child
leukaemia patients

- 15 Sphygmomanometer aneroid Accoson

- Basra Paediatric Teaching
Hospital, Basra

- ABL 625 radiometer & its reagents

- Central Paediatric Teaching
Hospital, Al-Tifl Al-Markazi,
Baghdad

This consignment was funded by the generosity of the following donors: Mr & Mrs Abdullah Ismail, Mr Ali Jaidah, The Ousseimi Foundation, Mrs Latifa Kosta, Mrs Nina Faidi, Mr & Mrs Wasif Haroun, The Women's Council, Mrs Mounir Attalla, Rev'd John Stephenson, Mrs Hind Matthews as well as funds received from general donations and fundraising events.


IN THE PIPELINE

- A Van Ambulance
At the Annual Dinner, Mr Nadhmi Auchi generously donated a Van Ambulance (2000 Ford McCoy Miller E-350 type 11). MAIC has acquired the UN approval on 28th November 2001 and is currently awaiting the US Export License, in order to export the ambulance to Iraq. It will be donated to the Al-Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital in Baghdad.

- Training in the Latest Bone Marrow Transplant Techniques
It is a well documented fact that the incidence of child leukaemia in Iraq has increased dramatically since the end of the Gulf War. The most effective treatment for this condition is bone marrow transplants. Earlier this year, MAIC was approached by the International Centre for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral to participate in their proposed programme to train doctors and medical technicians from Iraq in the latest bone marrow transplant techniques at the Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Accordingly, MAIC has pledged to fund the training of one doctor from Iraq at a cost of £6,000. MAIC is in constant touch with Coventry Cathedral about the progress of their programme.

- Upcoming Medical Shipment
MAIC is also presently compiling the next list of medicines and medical equipment that are urgently needed by paediatric hospitals in Iraq. The estimated cost of the list is approximately £150,000. All donations will be most appreciated.


UPDATE ON THE DELIVERY OF MAIC'S 2ND ICU TO THE CENTRAL PAEDIATRIC TEACHING HOSPITAL, AL-TIFL AL-MARKAZI, BAGHDAD


As mentioned in last year's newsletter, delivery of this 3-bed ICU commenced on 31/10/2000.
The majority of the equipment was delivered on that date. However, the following items were either delivered at a later date or are still awaiting various necessary approvals and licenses:
- 1 x Paediatric aerosol tent OHMEDA, delivered on 28/8/2001
- 3 x Bedside monitors & 1 x Multiview central workstation SIEMENS. The approval of the UN Sanctions Committee was granted on 13/8/2001. Now, MAIC is awaiting the granting of the US Export License.


A SPECIAL THANK YOU


Over the years, MAIC has been receiving a great deal of support from a wide cross-section of British society. There has been much support and concern voiced by the Church. The Rev'd John Stephenson of St.Chad's Church in East Herrington has been a constant supporter and has also encouraged his congregation to support MAIC. Then there is the British medical community. This includes individuals like Dr Mercy Heatley who has donated much needed medical journals on several occasions. The British Medical Association (BMA) as well as various British medical institutions have supported their fellow doctors in Iraq by donating medical books and journals. There are many more touching stories of individuals who have shown a great deal of compassion by supporting the sick children of Iraq. MAIC is appreciative and extremely grateful for all their help.


EXTRACTS FROM AN ADDRESS GIVEN BY MAIC'S CHAIRMAN
AT AN INTERNATIONAL FORUM IN MUNICH, JUNE 2001

The title of the address was "Can Sanctions Against Iraq Be Justified?" The address reviewed: The Effect of Sanctions Between 1990 - 1995, The State of Health and Public Utilities Following the Implementation of the UN "Oil for Food" Programme 1996 - 2001, The Process of Applying to the UN Sanctions Committee, and The Human Cost.

The Process of Applying to the UN Sanctions Committee

All imports for Iraq via the 'Oil for Food Programme' have to be approved by the Security Council Sanctions Committee, which will examine each item on the application. The Committee has the right to withhold approval for items suspected of dual use. In May 2000, a pre-approved list of some drugs was introduced to speed up the process. Yet the process of applying to the Sanctions Committee remains highly inefficient and time consuming. It slows down the delivery of urgently needed supplies, and fails to meet the Security Council's main humanitarian objectives.

According to UN figures as of 31st March 2001, the Office of the Iraq Programme received over $26 billion worth of contracts, of which $21 billion were approved and $3.4 billion were put on hold by the Committee. However, of the approved contracts only $12 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and oil industry equipment have been delivered to Iraq.

I will be discussing the process to highlight the reasons for the discrepancy between the number of contracts received and approved and the delays in the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Iraq.

From our Charity's experience, the first step in the process is to fill in the UN application form which requires not only a description of each item and its quantity, but also the unit of measure, the type of packaging, how many items per package etc. Once we have completed the application, it is sent to the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) in London. It usually takes the DTI a period of 6-8 weeks to do their queries and clear departments before sending the application to the UN mission. During this period, we are in constant communication with the DTI answering queries regarding the chemical components of certain medicines, extra clarification on units of measure, technical specifications and the type of use for some of the medical equipment.

Once the application is received, the UN mission in New York will present it to the Sanctions Committee. It usually takes two weeks for the Committee to review the application and send it, if approved, to the DTI in London. The DTI will then take another 2-3 weeks of further queries before they issue the Export Licence and forward it together with the UN approval to our charity.

Only then can we put the order in to our suppliers. It takes about 3 months for the orders to be ready and delivered to the hospitals in Iraq. The total period involved between presenting the application and delivery of the medical supplies is about 6 months. In previous years the corresponding period was 8-9 months.

At the Sanctions Committee, an application is sometimes rejected or put on hold on the grounds of dual use. We have experienced both cases. In April 2000, we put an order in for a 3-bed ICU for a paediatric hospital. Most of the equipment was approved by the UN and delivered to the hospital, except, 3 Heart Monitors and a Central Working Station by Siemens which were rejected. We applied once again in January 2001. The application is still on hold and the unit cannot be operated as the main parts are still missing.*

Additional problems are also caused by the Sanctions Committee's lack of reasonable flexibility to deal with simple changes in specifications. In one shipment we tried to replace a box of larger sized sutures with smaller ones. The reason was that one of the paediatric hospitals needed the smaller sized ones urgently for use in surgery on underweight babies. Unfortunately, it was not possible to do the exchange. We had to apply for the smaller sized sutures in our next application. The resulting delay of at least 6 months was unnecessary for such a simple yet very essential item.

Another example of the rigidity of the system: In September 2000 we wrote to the DTI asking them to allow us to replace a Blood Glucose Meter which was included in the application with another equivalent model, Blood Glucose Monitoring, as the first model had been discontinued by the supplier. The complicated system of extra documentation required prevented us from sending an urgently needed machine for diabetic patients.

The system becomes even more restrictive for the export of goods from the United States. We need to obtain authorisation from The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which enforces the economic sanctions against Iraq. In an early experience with OFAC in 1996, we could not obtain the US export licence for two incubators by Vickers, even though we had acquired the UN licence for them. We recently also had to extend a UN licence to export a Paediatric Tent by Ohmeda because OFAC delayed its export from the US. However, with the help of a kind volunteer American lawyer we were able to export the tent after a delay of 10 months.

I hope these few examples have given you an insight into the shortcomings of the system of UN approvals. Essential medical supplies have been put on hold or rejected unnecessarily, long delays are experienced in the delivery of goods resulting from the system's bureaucratic nature, objections to minor changes in specification outside the control of the consignee have caused shortages in essential medical supplies.

The Human Cost

A UN report in October 1991described Iraq in mid 1980 as a state that had an elaborate health care system, a modern telecommunication network, 24 electrical power generation systems and sophisticated water treatment plants. Mortality rates for both infants and children under five had declined between 1984 and 1989. However, the trend rapidly reversed in the 1990s. A UNICEF survey published in August 1999, covering the South and Centre of Iraq, showed under 5's mortality to have risen from 56 deaths per 1000 live births between 1984-1989 to 131 deaths between 1994 and 1999. Infant mortality had risen from 47 to 108 deaths per 1000 live births during the same period.

According to a UNICEF report of April 1998, 40,000 more children under 5 are dying each year over the figure for 1989, and there are 50,000 more deaths each year for children over 5 compared with 1989. This amounts to more than 250 extra deaths per day. Most international aid agencies agree that over 600,000 children have died over the past ten years. These figures are not just statistics, they are young human lives who could have been saved and alive today.

Prior to the embargo, malnutrition was not a public health problem in Iraq. But a UNICEF report published in November 1997 estimated that 1 million children under 5 were chronically malnourished. According to the WHO, 2 million children were registered in 1998 as suffering from deficiencies in protein, calorie and vitamins. A survey conducted by FAO in 1995 showed that 28% of children had stunted growth, 29% were under weight and 12% showed signs of wasting. Most of these children will fail to catch up with their potential intellectual and physical growth.

Another major health problem is the increase in mental health patients, especially children. A report by WHO put the number of patients attending clinics in 1998 at 507,000 persons, an increase of 157% over the figure for 1990.

Furthermore, there has been a sharp increase in the number of cancer patients, especially among children. Leukaemia counts for 70% of all cancers. From our charity's record, cancer cases among children admitted to hospital have quadrupled since 1991.

Finally, education has suffered greatly under sanctions. According to a UN observation report 90% of primary and 75% of secondary schools visited failed to provide a safe learning environment for students and teachers. Basic facilities were absent, such as appropriate sanitation, water pipes, lighting, and electrical wiring. School buildings also suffered from dampness, leaking ceilings, broken doors and windows. Severe shortages of classroom furniture, text books and teaching aids were also observed. Investment in education under the first four phases of the Oil for Food programme averaged just $23 million a year, compared to the government's annual allocation of $230 million in the mid 1980s. The development of a generation of children and youth has been stunted.

In conclusion, the Security Council throughout the past ten years has been constantly reviewing the regime of sanctions and introducing new formulas as it realised that the process was not adequate to meet the basic humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. However, the system remains flawed and totally impractical.

Two of the UN humanitarian co-ordinators in Iraq, Denis Halliday and Hans Van Sponeck resigned their posts in 1998 and 1999 respectively in protest at the alarming effect of sanctions on the Iraqi people.

How can we justify a policy that had such catastrophic results on a country of 22 million people who have lost over 600,000 children? Two million more children are malnourished, families are bereaved, youth have no hope or aspirations. The economy is desperately in need of financial resources to rebuild its devastated infrastructure.

I represent a humanitarian, non-political Charity and I am not necessarily in a position to judge the political merits of the sanctions policy. Never the less, as a humanitarian, I believe no matter what the political gains may be, they cannot justify this scale of human tragedy.

*UN approval was received in August 2001. However, we are still awaiting the US Export Licence to enable us to send the equipment to Iraq.

MAIC MEMBERS

Board of Governors
Mrs Mazin Al-Daftari- Trustee & Chairman
Mrs Mashal Al-Nawab
Mr Hani Dajani - Trustee
Mrs H.R. Farman-Farmaian
Mr Hassan Hadad M.D.
Mrs Ali Khan
Mr Robert Mabro CBE - Trustee
Mr Sabah Mahmoud - Trustee & Treasurer
Mrs Charles Riachy - Trustee
Mrs David Sambar
Mrs Fatima Sheikh Khazaal - Trustee
Mr Bassam Zako
Mrs May Zako

Honorary Members
Mrs Wajih Al-Kaylani
Lady Beaumont
Prince Sixte de Bourbon-Parme
Prince de Chimay
Mr Nezar Haba M.D.
Mrs Abdullah Ismail
Mr Bruce Mathalone M.D.
Mr Abdul Karim Moudaris
Prof. Edward Said
Dr Raghdah Shukri M.D.
Mrs Hassan Smadi
Mrs Nezhat Tayeb
Lady Tooley
Mr Graham Walker M.D.

Medical Team in Iraq
Mr Jawad Khadem Al-Ali M.D.
Dr Ihasan Al-Bahrani M.D.
Mr Khalid Al-Obaydi M.D.
Dr Adel Al-Rawi M.D.
Dr Omar Al-Yaqubi M.D.
Dr Hussam Charmougli M.D.
Dr Hussain Malik M.D.

Jordanian Liaison Committee
Dr Zafer Al-Kayyali M.D.
Mrs Mounir Attalah
Dr Salwan Baban M.D.
Dr Hala Fattah
Dr Junaid Mahmoud M.D.
Dr Layla Sharaf
Mr Hasan Shukri

Support Committee
Mrs Hashim Alani
Mrs Yassine Bouhara
Mr Taymoor Marmarchi

 
 


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