WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 18 - 24 Jul 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.
WHO hosted a High Policy Seminar on Health, on the 17th July 2005 at the Dead Sea, Jordan, which was chaired by the Ministry of Health. This Seminar was attended by major donors and UN agencies and had the outcome of the Ministry of Health identifying three specific objectives for health in Iraq, in the short term:

1. Addressing the urgent needs and provision of humanitarian assistance;

2. Safeguarding achievements of the Iraqi health sector and strengthening the capacity to provide the technical and expertise needed by MOH in priority areas;

3. Consolidating the transition to the PHC decentralized model and its expansion and building the capacity of MOH.

The seminar was held one day before the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) Donors Meeting and gave the Ministry of Health the opportunity to meet with some of its major development partners and discuss priorities and strategies for health in Iraq.

IRFFI Donor Conference

The fourth International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) Donors Meeting was held at the Dead Sea, Jordan from the 18th -- 19th July 2005. The IRFFI is the umbrella to the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund, from which WHO currently has over US$60 million worth of projects funded. The first day was an expanded meeting of all donors, followed on the second day by the IRFFI Donor Committee meeting. The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Canada, with the support of the Iraqi Minister of Planning, and with the participation of the UN, World Bank and delegates of IRFFI member countries. WHO participated at the meeting, as part of the UN delegation.

At the meeting, health was listed as one of three priorities, outlined by the Government of Iraq for donor coordination. Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer (WHO Representative for Iraq) made a presentation on health at the meeting -- one of only two UN implementing agencies. Health was further highlighted by the news that the EC is contributing circa US$30 million specifically for UN health agencies in 2005.

WHO also held side meetings with Baroness Emma Nicholson (pictured below), USAID, the Governor of Basra, the Representative for the Kurdistan Region, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Municipalities and Public Works and other briefings with other key donors (such as UK, EC and others). For further information on the Donor Meeting, kindly refer to the WHO-Iraq webpage by clicking here:

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

WHO is supporting many Water Born Disease workshops, with special attention to Typhoid Fever and Hepatitis E Control in Baghdad, with the participation of health workers from different governorates. The implementation of the training is ongoing through the NGO Merlin, supported under the UNDG ITF Primary Health Care Programme.

Due to the hot weather and the continuous interruption of electricity and water supply, it's expected that the incidence of Bulletin, water born diseases will increase. In preparation for this, WHO is in continuous communication with Ministry of Health Communicable Disease Control Centre (Baghdad) and with focal points in the governorates, to ensure that all the preventative control measures are with the relevant health workers, including the health education material, specialised kits, etc.

A training workshop for Hygiene Education Campaigns on Water Born Diseases (focusing on Typhoid Fever and Cholera control) was conducted for the Community leaders at the Basra Directorate of Health on the 16th and 17th July 2005. In addition to lectures and discussions, leaflets and folders related to water born diseases were distributed.

Environmental Health

WHO in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and the Jordanian Environment Society this week held a 'Training of Trainers Workshop on Preparations for the State of Environment Report" in Amman, from the 17th -- 21st July 2005. The training, which is one in a planned series, had 22 participants from Ministries of Environment, Higher Education and Health The main objectives of the training were to:

1. Acquaint the participant with the State of Environment Report;

2. Introduce the participants to the selection of environment monitoring indicators;

3. Train the trainers on how to formulate the State of Environment Report for Iraq.

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 visit the WHO-Iraq website: