WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 15 - 21 Nov 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. To achieve this, WHO (as lead agency for the UN Health Cluster) has six strategic outcomes: (1) 50% reduction in under-5 mortality rates; (2) 15% reduction in maternal mortality; (3) Increase access to quality health care services especially for vulnerable groups and the un-reached; (4) Enhance disease prevention and control, including HIV / AIDS; (5) An enabling environment for healthy life styles ensured; and (6) Emergency preparedness and response ensured. These six strategic outcomes are used within this Activity Report, to present the activities that WHO has undertaken in the reporting period

Outcome 1 : 50% reduction in under-5 mortality rates

- WHO met with representatives from the Surveillance Unit of the Primary Health Care Department, in the Kirkuk Department of Health, to discuss the results of the recent independent review of AFP surveillance.

Outcome 3 : Increase access to quality health care services especially for vulnerable groups and the un-reached

- WHO continued to support the MOH in the implementation of the Monitoring Drug Supply Project, which is currently being piloted in five health directorates.

- WHO met with the concerned officials in the Public Clinics Directorate, to provide technical support to the flow and distribution of the chronic illness drugs in the country.

- WHO participated in the IDP follow-up committee meeting in Kirkuk DOH on the 18th November 2004, to discuss efforts arranged to deliver health services to the IDPs.

Outcome 4: Enhance disease prevention and control, including HIV / AIDS

- In response to a request from the Communicable Disease Centre of the MOH, WHO is to provide literature on the WHO global strategy for the containment of anti-microbial resistance.

- WHO is supporting the visit of two tuberculosis (TB) specialists to Jordan, to coordinate the treatment of a number of Iraqi TB patients in the Al-Noor TB centre in Jordan.

- WHO has completed the technical review of an MOH proposal to strengthen the hospital infection control programme in Iraq, and will be providing more technical and logistical support to implement the activities planned within the proposals, including training in and outside Iraq, providing health education materials and providing supplies and equipments.

- Only one case of cholera has been reported between the 8th and 14th November, the situation is under control and all the control and prevention measures are ongoing. The graph below shows the distribution of cholera cases (Inaba and Oqawa) between 19th April and 14th November 2004.

Outcome 4: Enhance disease prevention and control, including HIV / AIDS (cont...)

- A project proposal for strengthening the Vector Control Programme was submitted by the Medical Entomology and Rodent section of the Communicable Disease Centre to WHO. It was jointly reviewed and the MOH are finalising the proposal to align with WHO guidelines.

- A coordination meeting was held between the MOH and WHO, to follow-up specifically on the UNDG Iraqi Trust Fund Non-Communicable Disease and Mental Health Programme. The meeting -- which was held at the MOH with those involved in the project -- discussed the issue of equipments and supplies that were previously requested. WHO is expected to receive a revised list from the MOH, inline with the original allocated funding.

- The Director of the HIV/AIDS Department within Communicable Disease Centre (MOH) has produced a project proposal to revitalize the various prevention and control activities of the programme, which has suffered immense disruption following the conflict in 2003. The proposal was reviewed jointly with WHO and some amendments were suggested to strengthen the proposal. It is now with the CDC, for reconsideration and WHO expects to receive the project proposal imminently.

- WHO national staff attended the national multi-sectoral seminar on drug abuse held by the MOH.

Outcome 5: An enabling environment for healthy life styles ensured

- WHO met with H.E. the Minister of Environment to discuss various joint WHO activities with the Ministry of the Environment. Following this, WHO held discussions with the Ministry of Environment on the details and way forward for implementing the UNDG Iraqi Trust Fund Water Quality Control Programme, with concentration on improving the water quality laboratories in Baghdad and the Governorates.

- WHO visited the Central Water Quality Laboratory (Ministry of Environment), to discuss the steps of implementing the internal training courses and to prepare the supply list for chemical items, for UNDG Iraqi Trust Fund Water Quality Control Programme.

- WHO visited the Health Audit Centre (MOH) to follow-up on the implementation of the four Environmental Health Programmes.

- WHO visited the principal Huryia Health Centre and Huryia sub-centre (Kadamyia District) to follow-up on the situation of water quality and health wastes in these health centres.

- WHO attended the national training course on Solid Waste Management, organized by Ministry of Environment, and supported by WHO.

Coordination Activities

- WHO supported the MOH in the conduction of a Seminar on Financing Options for Iraq's Health Sector. The conference -- attended by the Minister and representatives from the World Bank and the World Health Organization -- considered financing options for the health sector in Iraq. The MOH is in the process of finalizing two papers, based on the discussions for wider consultation in Iraq on health financing options.

- WHO attended meeting held by the MOH on the 20th November in Amman and chaired by the Minister of Health, for partners who are based in Amman to review the current health situation and the progress made so far in the reconstruction process. The meeting aimed at strengthening coordination between all agencies helping the health sector in Iraq.

- WHO attended several meetings with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society regarding the humanitarian situation in Fallujah and to coordinate and review mechanisms with the MOH, other UN agencies and NGOs so as to coordinate the relief delivery to the people there and those displaced.

- WHO met with the Multi National Forces public health team on the 13th November 2004, to discuss delivery of emergency equipment funded by them.

Further Information

Thank you for taking the time to read this report. If you would like any further information on WHO in Iraq, please do not hesitate to contact WR Iraq (Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer) on or see the WHO-Iraq website at