Update IV - June 2004

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The current focus in Iraq is on the handing over of power to a sovereign Iraqi government and security. However, hospitals and general health conditions are most worrying with many hospitals suffering from severe shortages despite structural improvements that have been made to some. Some have compared the current situation to the horrific health conditions prior to the 1996 oil-for-food programme.

OVERVIEW OF HEALTH & HOSPITAL CONDITIONS

• The Central Paediatric Teaching Hospital in Baghdad has open sewage literally gushing onto the premises which is contaminating the drinking water. In the oncology ward, which is stretched to the maximum and overrun with patients, there is no means of protecting children undergoing chemotherapy from the risk of further infection. The chemotherapy kills both white and red blood cells leaving the patients particularly vulnerable to air-borne bacteria.

• Hospital statistics have put the rate of secondary infection at 80% for patients who enter to be treated for another illness. This is due to the lack of hygiene within the hospitals.

• Hospitals are unable to deal with the vast needs of the people and most suffer from shortages of nursing staff.

• Dr. Jawad Khadem Al Ali a member of MAIC’s team of doctors and head of oncology in Basra Hospital in a recent Japan Peace Conference gave statistics on the rise in cancers according to him. The rate of cancers has increased ten times the rate in 1988. The death rate from cancers has increased 19 times from 1988. The congenital malformations in newly-born babies have increased 7 times since 1990. New and strange phenomena of cancers are appearing such as clustering of cancer in families and double and triple cancers in one person. Coupled with malnutrition and infections, child mortality has risen.

• Dr Al Ali has attributed the rise in cancers and congenital malformations amongst other factors such as malnutrition and pollution, to the use of depleted uranium. He also states that more weapons containing depleted uranium were used in the 2003 war, in built-up areas, targeting a number of Iraqi cities.

• Security is a huge concern amongst doctors in all hospitals. There have been incidences of hospital staff being kidnapped, threatened and sometimes attacked in the hospitals.

• There has been a rise in Tuberculosis and hospitals are in urgent need of TB testing kits. MAIC, in early April, delivered testing kids for 600 children.

• The main blood donor facility in Baghdad has reported substantial quantities of blood to be infected with hepatitis and AIDS.

• The sale of used toiletries used by coalition troops such as razor blades and toothbrushes has worried health officials who are concerned that this could lead to an increase in diseases such as Hepatitis C and AIDS.

• There has been an increase in drug smuggling into Iraq as well as an increase in alcohol and drug dependency amongst the population. There is currently no effective system in place to treat those suffering from addiction.

• There has been a three fold increase in maternal mortality rates due to the fact that more women are delivering at home without professional medical help. The high instances of malnutrition and iron deficiencies are also contributing factors.

SHIPMENTS

PAST SHIPMENTS

Shipment 22:

The shipment consisting of 4 Drager incubators and 4 resuscitators was airfreighted to Baghdad on 30th January 2004. The total value of this shipment is 75,167.35 EUROS equal to £52,000. Receipt of the consignment was confirmed on 8th February 2004. The number of incubators and resuscitators are equally divided between:

• Al Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Medical City, Baghdad.

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

Shipment 23:

Urgent medical items were sent by hand and delivered to Central Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, by MAIC’s members in April 2004 The supplies included 600 TB testing kits, infant and neonatal laryngoscopes and magnifying loupes used in surgery.

FORTHCOMING SHIPMENT

Shipment 24:

MAIC has already compiled and ordered medical supplies in accordance with the urgent needs of five hospitals. We hope to deliver the supplies in July 2004. The supplies totalling in value £120,000, inclusive of transport. Supplies include antibiotics, cancer drugs, steroids, surgical items, wheelchairs and crutches. They will be sent to:

• Al-Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Medical City, Baghdad.

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

• Basra Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Basra.

• Hilla Republican Hospital, Hilla.

• The Spinal Cord Injury Centre, Baghdad.

MAIC’S FORTHCOMING PROJECTS

• In the previous update applications for one month fellowship placements at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health was mentioned. MAIC is saddened to say that all, but one, of the 23 applicants whom we believed to be adequately qualified were rejected. MAIC is surprised as the applicants were properly vetted according to their qualifications. We have written to the college asking them to provide us with the college requirements for future applicants.

• MAIC has been approached by doctors in Iraq on the issue of child post-traumatic stress disorder as well as the Iraqi Association for Mental Health for specialised training. MAIC has had requests to help train doctors and to provide whatever assistance possible in the field of child psychiatry. MAIC is keen to expand its aid to provide help in this area.

FUND RAISING

MAIC also wishes to thank all its generous donors who contributed to its fundraising annual dinner which took place on the 24th March 2004 at the Park Lane Hotel, London and raised in excess of £109,000.

MAIC wishes to thank all the foundations, organisations, companies, fundraisers, standing order donors and individuals who have so generously contributed to the charity and to state how much we sincerely value their support. The following is a list of organisers who have held fundraising events since November 2003.

• MAIC is most grateful to Reverend John Stephenson from the Church of St. Chad for his continuous efforts in raising generous funds for the charity and from the sale of his booklets in support of MAIC.

• MAIC wishes to thank the Church of St. Chad and its congregation for their continuous and generous collection to the charity.

• MAIC wishes to thank “Gwent Peace and Justice Group” for their continued support and fundraising activities. We are very grateful for their past two fundraising events including a Christmas fundraiser.

• Many thanks to Mrs H. Speight and Peace Action Durham for the proceeds raised from the One World Week Café.

• MAIC would like to thank the Reverend Damon Rogers and the joint choirs of St Thomas’ Church, Heigham; St Peter’s Methodist Church; and Jessop Road United Reform Chuch for donations raised through a carol singing collection.

• MAIC is very grateful to Ms Debbie Van Koutrik and wish to thank her for her generosity in donating to MAIC instead of giving Christmas presents to her friends and family.

• MAIC wishes to thank Reverend Graham Hitchins and Lieutenant Colonel Howes OBE RM of the Royal Marines. We are very appreciative of the funds raised through a collection taken at their Christmas carols and lessons service.

• MAIC would like to thank Ms Ada Garton for donating the profits raised at her art exhibition from the sale of prints and cards. We would also like to thank Mr. Wilkinson for helping to organise the event.

• MAIC wishes to thank Mrs Veronica Hanna for her donation in memory of Mrs Geraldine Wicht, may she rest in peace.

• MAIC would like to express its thanks and appreciation to Maya Al-Memmar of Imperial College for organising and raising such generous funds through the Iraqi Charity Dinner in support of MAIC.

• MAIC wishes to thank Ms Hilary Davies an undergrad at Cambridge University for funds raised at a collection taken from a peace concert she organised to commemorate the anniversary of the biggest peace demonstration in the UK.

• MAIC would like to express its appreciation for the continued support of Grant Wakefield through funds raised from the sale of his CD “The Fire This Time”: www.firethistime.org. We also wish to thank all the people who have donated to the charity through his activities.

• MAIC is very grateful to Mrs Omaya Lowzi for donating proceeds from a jewellery exhibition at a tea party held at her home.

• MAIC wishes to thank Rock and Awe for their donation raised through the proceeds of a benefit concert.

• MAIC would like to thank the Peace Group for their donation raised through a collection to commemorate the largest peace demonstration held in the UK.

• MAIC wishes to thank and express its appreciation to Mr Martin Wyatt and Ms Nicola Greenwood for their generous donations raised through several concerts held over the past year and for their latest fundraising function the March Good Cause Appeal.

• MAIC would like to thank Mr Geoffrey Duncan for the funds raised through a communion offering at Leaside Church.  

• MAIC is very grateful to AMICUS MSF for their donation in memory of Mr John Cheverton.

• MAIC wishes to thank Oakhampton Quakers for the funds raised through a plant sale.

• MAIC  would like to express its thanks to Mrs F. A. Kerr, a great grandmother, for raising funds through the sale of plants from her garden.

• MAIC would like to thank the Per Pro United Reform Church for the funds they raised through a collection.

• MAIC is very thankful to Mr J. S. Rawson for a collection made by Dyfi Valley Peace Group in support of the charity.

• MAIC wishes to thank Mr. & Mrs John Dansie for the generous funds they raised.

• MAIC would like to thank Jan Durham of Darlington for Peace for the funds raised from a collection at a meeting.

• MAIC wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to the students of Ahliah School in Beirut, Lebanon, for the funds raised through a collection.

• MAIC would like to thank Ms Kate Targett for her ongoing support of MAIC through the sale of “P-shirts” produced by her and an artist friend.  

ANNOUNCEMENTS: UPCOMING FUNDRAISERS

Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) Summer Ball:

Maya Al-Memmar is involved in organising the ICSM Summer Ball which will take place on the 22nd June 2004 at the ‘Room by the River’ located in the Upper Ground, SE1 near the London Eye. There will be a champagne reception, three course dinner and entertainment. The guest speaker will be Professor Lord Robert Winston. All proceeds will go to MAIC. Tickets are £60 and after dinner tickets are £20. For tickets or further information email: summer.ball@imperial.ac.uk or call: 07799601442.

Walking the Dales Way in Support of MAIC:

Valerie Jennings will be walking the Dales Way from 11th September to 18th September to raise funds for MAIC. The Dales Way is an 84 mile long distance footpath through some of the most beautiful scenery in England. It will be an arduous walk and she has done nothing of its kind before. If you would like to sponsor her or would like further details please contact Valerie at valeriejennings@hotmail.com.

Any inquiries or comments are most welcome and should be addressed to the editor, Maya Askari



 
 
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