WHO health briefing on Iraq

UN Humanitarian briefing
1 April 2003

Supplies

Five WHO cholera kits and trauma kits have arrived in Kuwait. This will These will be moved into Iraq as soon as they are needed. Another five cholera kits and five trauma kits which were delivered to Amman over the weekend will be moved to Iraq as soon as possible.

Baghdad

In the capital, a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross has visited three hospitals dealing with war-wounded patients in Baghdad. The organization provided 250 blankets to Al Nur general hospital. An ICRC medical officer and a water engineer are planning to go to Ramadi, about 80 kilometres west of Baghdad to evaluate the medical and water supply situation following reports of water shortage. Concerns have been raised about the health impact that burning oil and other fires could have, particularly on children in the capital. WHO is particularly concerned about the effect on people who suffer from respiratory problems. Particulates from fires can seriously aggravate conditions including asthma.

Northern Governorates

Health services in the three Northern Governorates are reported to be functioning normally. WHO has provided medicine and supplies to 12 health centres in Koya district, to two hospitals in Suleimaniya city and to 27 rural health centres. WHO has also distributed fuel tanks to seven hospitals and continutes to purchase fuel for hospitals on the local market.

For further information, please contact WHO spokespersons Fadela Chaib in Amman (00 4179 475 5556) or Iain Simpson in Geneva (00 4179 475 5534)

The following WHO specialists are available to respond to media questions: Dr G Popal, Head of the WHO country office in Iraq (+962 795 7092); Dr Mohamed Jama, Deputy Regional Director, WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, Cairo (+202 276 5026 ); Dr Jim Tulloch, WHO Regional Health Coordinator, (+4179 509 0640); Dr David Nabarro, WHO Executive Director, Geneva (+41 22 791 2363, +41 79 217 3446)

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