Escalating violence and widespread insecurity, combined with a worsening shortage of health workers, are putting severe pressure on the health of the Iraqi population.
This pressure increases as people move within the country and into neighbouring countries in search of safer places to live.
Every day in 2006, an average of 100 people were killed and many more were seriously injured by gunshots, shrapnel wounds and burns. As the violence continues, these emergency needs are increasing the load on a public health system that is already stretched thin, and people are dying as a result. The government estimates that almost 70% of critically injured patients with violence-related wounds die while in emergency and intensive care units due to a shortage of competent staff and a lack of drugs and equipment.
WHO is concerned that health services within and outside Iraq will not be able to cope with the influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, as people continue to leave their homes and move within and out of the country. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 2 million Iraqis are IDPs and as many as 2 million more have already left the country for neighbouring countries, in particular Syria and Jordan. These figures are expected to rise. WHO is concerned by the deteriorating condition of health care in Iraq and the increasing burden placed on host communities as they serve more and more people within and outside Iraq.
WHO will highlight these concerns at the UNHCR international conference “Addressing the Humanitarian Needs of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons Inside Iraq and Neighbouring Countries”, which is being held from 17 to 18 April 2007 in Geneva.
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Sub-editorHealthcare :: Violence threatens health in Iraq
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on April 20th, 2007 at 3:28 am.
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