WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 14 - 20 Mar 2005

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 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.

Access to Quality Health Services

A team of MOH officials from the National Drug Quality Control Laboratory (NDQCL) completed a one week study tour in Jordan from 12-18 March 2005. The study tour is part of the implementation of the UNDG ITF project to re-activate the National Drug Quality Control Laboratory in Iraq. Several institutions were visited including, the Jordan Drug Quality Control Laboratory of the JFDA and the Jordan National Bank during which testing procedures of collapsible containers for Human Blood and Blood Conventional Containers were discussed, the Research and Development and quality control laboratory of the Dar Dawa drug manufacturing plants and the Jordanian Association of Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers to exchange experiences on what is needed to ensure quality of pharmaceutical products at different stages of the manufacturing and distribution processes.

Visit to JFDA Drug Quality Control Laboratory

On 15 March 2005, a WHO team visited Kimadia (the state company for drugs and medical appliances) central warehouses and held meetings with senior management to discuss the distribution of drugs, medical supplies and lab reagents throughout the country. The following points emerged:

  • Kimadia's branches of Al Karhk and Al-Rasafa Departments of Health in Baghdad have resumed their activities to supply all the health facilities and hospitals in Baghdad with drugs and lab reagents since 01 March 2005.

  • The Kimadia branch of Medical City has resumed its activity and will start to supply the 5 big hospitals within the medical city.

  • The distribution of drugs in all governorates including the three northern governorates of Erbil, Dohuk and Suleiymaniyah is being carried out regularly.

  • Consultations held on 14 March 2005 with the Baghdad Public Clinics Directorate to discuss the current situation regarding the availability and distribution of chronic disease drugs during March 2005 revealed that all needed drugs were available to cover patients' needs for the month of March except Valsartan (Diovan 80 and 160 mg tablets) an anti hypertensive drug for which no stock is currently available in Kimadia stores.

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

A team from WHO Iraq and the MOH Iraq have participated in an intercountry workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation of National EPI (Extended Programme of Immunization) Programs which was conducted between 14 and 18 March 2005 in Tunis, the objectives of the workshop included:

  • To brief the National EPI Managers on the regional reporting system and on recent tools for monitoring and evaluation.

  • To review vaccine preventable diseases surveillance activities

  • To review Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) surveillance.

  • To brief the National EPI Managers on the Global Immunization Vision and strategies 2006-2015 and use it to draft national EPI multi-year plans.

  • To brief the National EPI Managers on the recent tools for estimation of disease burden and immunization impact assessment/studies.

  • To develop national plans for strengthening the monitoring and evaluation systems

WHO participated actively at a Joint Iraq in collaboration with USA/UK in Action Planning Conference on Mental Health in Iraq. WHO delivered remarks on behalf of the UN at the Opening Ceremony and greetings from both the WHO Director General and the Deputy Special Representative for Secretary General for Iraq. A message was delivered on how the UNCT work in Iraq around a UN Strategy and the collaboration and coordination between the UN Agencies around Clusters such as Health.

Further, a presentation was conducted on the health system approach to health programming and the importance of review of Financing Options in planning mental health progamme and an updated on the achievements and lessons learnt from the implementation of the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund proposal in the area of Mental Health and Non Communicable Disease. A draft Plan of Action was developed based on the work of 4 working groups around: Mental Health Services; Mental Health Training and Education; Scientific Programs and Research Capacity and Policies and Support for Mental Health Programs. There were almost 20 Consultants in the field from USA and UK with approximately 45 Iraqis at the meeting.

Environmental Health

With the support of the EC/UNDP Thematic Trust Fund, 25 food inspectors from Iraq completed a National Food Safety Training Course this week, conducted by WHO in partnership with the Jordan Food and Drug Administration.

Three workshops were initiated during the reporting week under UNDG Trust Fund Water Quality Control Project in Amman-Jordan. 26 Iraqi nationals representing different backgrounds from Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Municipality attended the following training courses:

  • On 13 March 2005, a training course on Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) started in Jordan Environment Society in Amman-Jordan. The 5 day training course is targeting Directors, Senior Staff working in the Laboratories and Staff responsible for data management to develop their capabilities to manage the quality data on the national level in a secure and validated manner. It is expected that after the course, the responsible persons will be able to take into consideration all conditions related to data management for drinking water quality.

  • On 15 March 2005, a training course on Diagnosis of Algae and Fungi in water started in the Water Authority of Jordan Laboratories in Amman, Jordan. Eight Bacteriological technicians from Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Municipality in Iraq participated in the 9 day training. The objective of the training is to diagnose and isolate algae and fungi from water samples and ensure that water supplied to the consumers is free from any bacteriological contaminations. It is expected that upon completion of the course, the participants should be able to diagnose and isolate the algae and fungi from water samples in Iraq.

  • On 13 March 2005, a training on Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA)of Water and Sanitation Projects was initiated in Jordan Environment Society. Attendees included decision-makers who wished to have an overview of EHIA benefits and techniques; people in the government, the private and public sectors; members of NGOs, municipalities and local communities leaders.

Meanwhile, the training on Determination of Trace Elements and Heavy Metals by Using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer Techniques which was taking place during the period 1 to 14 March 2005 in Water Authority of Jordan Laboratories is on going. The objective of the course is to determine the concentration of heavy metals in water and wastewater to ensure that water supplied to the consumers is within the permissible levels in terms of heavy metals.

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 visit the WHO-Iraq website:http://