Update - September 2005

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OVERVIEW OF HEALTHCARE IN IRAQ

The struggle for smooth transition of power continues in Iraq. Following many years of wars and crippling sanctions the Iraqi peoples' dream of peace is being shattered daily. Foreign occupation, suicide attacks and conflicts afflict the day to day lives of survivors, who try to endure this ongoing pain, fear and terror. Doctors are being targeted by kidnappers causing many to flee the country and resulting in further deterioration of an already struggling healthcare system.

The United Nations Development Programme 2004 found that 39% of the Iraqi population is under the age of 15 and therefore represent the largest section of Iraqi society. The death of approximately 500 000 children after the imposition of UN sanctions was also reported.

The United Nations Development Programme 2004 also highlighted the falling standards in education and healthcare. Most children in Iraq have now lived all their lives under economic sanctions and wars, which has dramatically affected health and nutrition during the critical periods in their growth and development.

The 74% literacy rate was reported in those aged 15-24 which is lower than literacy rates for the age groups 25-34, showing that the younger generation lags behind its predecessors in terms of educational performance. The above study also found that 12% of Iraqi children aged between 6 months and 5 years suffer from general malnutrition, with 23% suffering from chronic malnutrition.

Diarrhoea and acute respiratory tract infections were described as the main childhood killers. Only 54% of Iraqis have access to clean water and only 37% are connected to a sewage network compared with 75% in the 1980s. Many problems have been reported about the old and war-damaged sewage network from which sewage seeps to the ground and pollutes drinking water in the process.

The Ministry of Environment announced that at least 311 areas in Iraq are contaminated with depleted uranium, which presents a very real threat to any human coming under close contact for prolonged periods of time.

In the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, according to data from The Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004, there were 24000 deaths of which 18% were due to warfare afflicting children under the age of 18. Ministry of Health and Labour has announced that up to 1 million Iraqis have been maimed as a result of recent wars, ensuing violence and explosions.

The report also revealed that there are 100,000 Iraqis currently suffering from blindness, with many more at risk of blindness should they fail to receive medical treatment. The Ministry of Health has in addition confirmed a rise in cases of the AIDS virus in the country. It was confirmed that there were 260 cases of the AIDS virus in Iraq, 126 of which were reported in 2003 alone. 15% of sufferers are women and children (aged 0-15) make up 20% of sufferers. The majority of cases have been attributed to import of contaminated blood, and 5% were due to transmission between mother and child.

Since its foundation in 1995, MAIC continues with its humanitarian aid by providing paediatric hospitals in Iraq with medicines and medical equipment. Since 2005, MAIC has provided Iraqi healthcare professionals with opportunities for short-term training in UK hospitals to update and improve their skills. With the generous help of our supporters, MAIC continues helping Iraqi children and health care professionals through these difficult times.


Shipments of Medical Supplies

Past Shipments dated from December 2004

Shipment 24:
MAIC has delivered medical supplies in accordance with the urgent needs of five hospitals. Confirmation of the arrival of the consignment was received in December 2004. The supplies total £126,100 in value, inclusive of transport. Supplies include antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, steroids, surgical items, wheelchairs and crutches. They were sent to:

• Al-Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Medical City, Baghdad.
• Central Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Al-Tifl Al-Markazi, Baghdad.
• Basrah Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Basrah.
• Hilla Republican Hospital, Hilla.
• The Spinal Cord Injury Centre, Baghdad.

Shipment 25:
MAIC delivered 68 packs of dietary supplement (Maxamum powder), valued at £3,145.00, to help in the treatment of Marwan Bashir. They were delivered in London prior to travel to Basrah.

Shipment 26:
MAIC responded to a request from the Al-Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital in Baghdad to send spare parts needed for equipment in MAIC's intensive care unit at the hospital. This shipment, valued at £18,782, was delivered in June 2005.

Shipment 27:
MAIC delivered a small shipment of investigative equipment, such as spectophometer, electrocardiograph and surgery microscopes, totalling £9260.65. This was received by the Central Paediatric Teaching Hospital in Baghdad in August 2005.

Shipment 28:
MAIC ordered a Biomerieux Mini-Vidas and reagents, clinical laboratory products for microbiology and infectious disease diagnostics, which was sent to Basrah Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Basrah, valued at £20,829. This shipment was delivered on October 2005.

Shipment 29:
MAIC sent medical supplies, in particular, antibiotics and cancer treatment, which were delivered on November 2005 and sent to the following hospitals:

• Al-Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, will receive supplies totalling to £26,884.50
• Basrah Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, will receive supplies totalling to £44,385

Shipment 30:
MAIC ordered a Partec Flow Cytometer, for analysis of blood and tissue samples especially used in the field of leukaemia and other blood diseases, various types of cancers and infectious diseases. This is valued at £36,700.00 and was delivered to Basrah Paediatric Teaching Hospital in December 2005.




SHORT TRAINING PROGRAM FOR IRAQI DOCTORS AT UK HOSPITALS

MAIC has begun a new aid programme training Iraqi doctors in the UK. Dr Abdul Kareem Salman Al-Obedi, a consultant psychiatrist from the Central Paediatric Teaching Hospital in Baghdad and chairman of the Iraqi Association for Child mental Health (IACMH). He was the first doctor to benefit from this program. Following training at the Northhampton General Hospital in March 2005 consisting of lectures, workshops and attendance of therapy sessions, Dr Al-Obeydi believes he gained a deeper understanding of child and adolescent health care.

Since then, more doctors have also benefited from our programme, including:

Mr Hussein Malik, paediatric surgeon at Central Paediatric Teaching Hospital

Dr Ali Hameed Rashid, neuropsychiatrist at Yarmouk Teaching Hospital and founder of Iraqi Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Dr Saied Nouri Al-Hashimi, Consultant Pyschiatrist at Yarmouk Teaching Hospital and teacher is psychiatry at Al-Mustansiriya University, Baghdad.

Dr Ghazwan Al-Badawi, Consultant Paediatrician, who has since been promoted to director of Children's Welfare Teaching Hospital (previously Al-Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital) in Baghdad

Dr Ghazwan Al-Badawi kindly shared his reflections with us after his short training program:

'It was one of my old dreams when I graduated from Baghdad College of Medicine, to learn modern medicine and to get a degree in Medicine from the UK as my professors and supervisors had done before me. What awakened this dream from time to time were the marks and memories of the English doctors in Baghdad hospitals and at the college. As the wind was against the ship leader for decades, Iraqi doctors were isolated from the world, but still the old dream was not collapsed. When this opportunity started to be read I decided not to lose it in spite of many difficulties, and I felt very glad when I took my first steps in Heathrow airport and my eyes saw London for the very first time. Although, it was a short course, it was a highly useful experience to me as an Iraqi Paediatrician. I will never forget all the people who are involved in my success in this course.'

MAIC wishes to thank the following hospitals and medical professionals for their help and support with this endeavour:

NHS and Social Care Trust West Kent

Maudsley Hospital especially Professor William Yule, Dr Nick Grey and Dr Patrick Smith

Great Ormond Street Hospital especially Dr Danya Glazer

Medical Foundation especially Dr Sheila Melzak

Chelsea and Westminister Hospital in particular Mr Munther Haddad
Northhampton General Hospital especially Dr Sachin Sankar and Dr Kedar Dwivedi

Dr. Jack Piachaud, consultant psychiatrist was a great help in advising MAIC and arranging training for the psychiatrists as well as raising sponsorship for their training.

Our special thanks also go to Accenture and other generous donors for helping with this valuable training programme.

Past events dated from May 2005

Forum on Health of Iraqi Children

MAIC held a Forum on the Health of Children in Iraq at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 3rd May 2005. The four speakers included Dr Hussein Malik and Dr Ali Rasheed who benefited from our short term programme and also included Dr Jawad Khadem Al-Ali, oncologist at Basrah Teaching Hospital. They were able to share their experiences in Iraq, discussing the current health situation and how war and sanctions have influenced the diseases they encounter. Ms Lindsay Hillsum, Channel 4 news International Editor, also spoke of her experiences in Iraq. MAIC would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who spoke at the Forum and who came to support the event in particular our experts on the panel:

Professor William Yule
Director of the Child Traumatic Stress Clinic, Maudsley Hospital, London

Dr Penelope Brock
Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

MAIC would also like to thank the International Arab Council Charities Fund (IAC) for generously sponsoring the event and all our kind donors who made this event possible.

MAIC also held a meeting in May 2005 at Medact, as arranged by Dr. Jack Piachaud. This was an opportunity for the Iraqi doctors training in England to get together with the UK consultants and discuss their experiences. The doctors all expressed that their new knowledge would be shared with other doctors in Iraq and would aid in improving health care in Iraq.

BUPA Great North Run 2005

MAIC is proud to announce that the five runners for MAIC, Mr. Hassan Haboubi, Mr. Ali Latif, Mr. Ian Davies, Mr. Khalid Ali and Ms Najwan Abu Al-Saad, have now completed the annual BUPA Great North Run, which was held on Sunday 18th September 2005. Beginning in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, coursing through Gateshead and ending at South Shields on the coast, the course is a gruelling 13.1 miles.

MAIC would like to take this opportunity to express its thanks and appreciation to the runners for their great effort in training, fundraising, and running the BUPA half marathon. Well done on completing such a challenging task! We are also very grateful to all the sponsors for their generous support.

A Message from one of our runners, Mr Khalid Ali:

'It was harder than I thought it would be, but somehow I managed to
complete the 13.1 miles stretching from right outside my front door in
Newcastle, where I'm a 4th year medical student, to the coast at South Shields.

The Great North Run is not only the biggest, but it is the best
Half Marathon in the world. The view as you run across the Tyne Bridge with thousands of runners will take your breath away, and not just because you are running! The Geordie crowd was amazing and was unbroken along the whole route, some handing out ice lollies and oranges, which were much needed and appreciated.

I finished in 2 hours 9 minutes and 55 seconds, which placed me in
14,139th place out of 50,000 runners. Not bad, considering I have always hated running, stemming from forced school-day morning runs in freezing conditions in Scotland. My one week of training and the the surprising scorching conditions on the day did not help things either. Who thought September in Newcastle could be so hot?!

The day after, every muscle in my body was aching and I couldn't even walk properly. But it was definitely worth it. I would encourage anyone who is thinking of running next year for Medical Aid for Iraqi Children to
definitely do it, as not only is it for a fantastic cause, it is an
amazing experience you will never forget.

I would like to thanks Medical Aid for Iraqi Children for giving me the
opportunity to participate in the Great North Run 2005. I'd especially
like to thank Maya Al-Memar and everybody else involved in organising
Medical Aid for Iraqi Children's participation in the 25th anniversary of
this great event.'

Written by Maya Al-Memar. Any enquiries please send to info@maic.org.uk



 
 
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