WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 06 - 12 Dec 2004

The World Health Organisation works in partnership with the Ministry of Health (and other health stakeholders) in fulfilling the Ministry’s vision of the provision of accessible, affordable and available, safe and comprehensive quality health services. In working with the Ministry of Health, WHO has five mutually agreed areas of work, which encompass all WHO activities in Iraq for the biennium 2004 -- 2005. These five areas of work are: (1) Access to Quality Health Services; (2) Prevention and Control of Diseases (Communicable and Non-Communicable); (3) Mother & Child Health and Reproductive Health; (4) Environmental Health; and (5) Human Resource Development for Health. These areas of work -- which are consistent with both the Ministry’s own strategy and the UN Health Cluster’s strategic outcomes -- are used within this Bulletin, to present the activities that WHO has undertaken in the reporting period.

1. Access to Quality Health Services

- WHO and UNIDO met on the pharmaceutical sector in Iraq. WHO provided a briefing to the UNIDO team on the current status of Iraqi manufacturing drug industries. This included updates on the oxygen for medical use, on the profiles of the pharmaceutical plants under Samara Drugs Industries (SDI) and the lists of different pharmaceutical dosage forms which were produced before the March 2003 conflict. This is to assist UNIDO in the situation analysis of the Iraqi pharmaceuticals production sector it is currently conducting, in order to be in a better position to advise the Government of Iraq on options to consider in developing this sector.

- WHO continues to work with the MOH concerning the committee of monitoring drugs and medical supplies situation programme.

2. Prevention and Control of Diseases -- Communicable and Non-Communicable

- This week a ‘Refresher Course for Psychiatrists’ took place in Amman, as part of the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund Mental Health and Non-Communicable Disease Programme. This one week refresher course was organised in collaboration between the Ministry of Health and WHO, with the support of mental health professionals from the region for over 30 physiatrists from Iraq including two from Colleges of Medicine.

- A technical review is ongoing for a proposal to strengthen disease surveillance and outbreak response in Iraq through the establishment and training of specific teams in all governorates, one in each, the teams will be responsible for rapid response to any outbreak or public health problem, the proposal also includes supervisory visits, which will be conducted by governorate and central levels.

- Through the analysis of the monthly comprehensive communicable diseases data, it is clear that there is a decrease in the incidence of Malaria which is mainly endemic in the three north governorates in Iraq. The graph below shows the reported cases of Malaria in the Dahuk governorate between January and October 2004 and 2002. WHO has provided considerable technical and logistical support to the MOH to control Malaria though supporting the spraying and fogging campaigns, providing bed nets, health education, and other activities

- WHO is undertaking preparations for the upcoming MMR National Immunisation Day for school children: from the 18th -- 23rd December 2004.

- WHO participated in a meeting with the MOH Hospital Acquired Infections Committee, on the development of comprehensive services in this field and the possible WHO support for such services.

- WHO attended the National Symposium on Hepatitis, organized by the Directorate of Public Health and Primary Health Care / MoH.

3. Mother & Child Health and Reproductive Health

- WHO have reviewed and undertaken analysis of the District Team Problem Solving (DTPS) training proposals for 2005, submitted by the MCH unit of the MoH to WHO. The report includes brief summaries on various training activities (planning workshops, preparatory meetings and follow up workshops) with objectives and expected outcomes of training the DTPS teams at Governorate/District Level in 13 Governorates (Baghdad,Salah Al Deen, Al-Sumawa, Diala, Mousil, Thee Qar, Arbil, Al Sulaymania, Missan, Basrah, Wasit, Dewania and Babil.)

- Medical equipments procured by the WHO were delivered to the Nutrition Research Institute / Baghdad, to support the MoH in the field of nutrition.

4. Environmental Health

- WHO participated in the first national training activity on the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund Water Quality Control Programme at the Central Water Laboratory / Ministry of Environment, from the 4th -- 9th December 2004.

- WHO attended a meeting H.E. Minister of Environment to discuss the plan of action for WQC programme and the rehabilitation of the central WQC Laboratory in Baghdad, which will be discussed in the next meeting, in Amman.

Coordination / Other Activities

- Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer (WHO Representative for Iraq) held a series of meeting with high ranking officials from the Ministry of Health -- including the Minister of Health, Deputy Minister of Health, Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and the DG of Engineering -- to expedite the implementation of WHO work in Iraq.

- WHO hosted the weekly UN Health Cluster coordination meeting in Amman on the 8th December 2004 -- with NGOs -- in which the UNDAF matrix was discussed and the general activities of NGOs working for health in Iraq was discussed.

- A meeting was held in Kirkuk, with the International Medical Corp (NGO) on the 8th December 2004 to discuss the establishment of a fixed medical team in IDP camps (Panja Ali and Alfaylik).

- WHO participated in the regular interagency meeting for OICs, which was convened on the 6th December at UNAMI Erbil, during which many issues regarding the visit of SRSG, developments on a new UN compound, security and coordination activities were discussed.

Further Information

Thank you for taking the time to read this bulletin. If you would like any further information on WHO in Iraq, please do not hesitate to contact the World Health Organisation Representative for Iraq -- Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer -- on or see the WHO-Iraq website at