WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 21 - 27 Feb 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

- 45% of the physical rehabilitation of the National Drug Quality Control Laboratory, Baghdad has been completed. The rehabilitation, which started in December 2004, is part of the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund National Drug Control Laboratory Programme.

Prevention and Control of Diseases - Communicable and Non-Communicable

- A team from the Ministry of Health, supported by WHO-Iraq participated in the Regional Meeting on Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa, from the 21st - 23rd February in Amman. The main objectives of the meeting were:

  • To enhance awareness and understanding of the situation of women and girls relative to HIV/AIDS, and the factors determining risk and vulnerability in the region;

  • To mobilize partners and organizations for advocacy and action on women, girls and HIV/AIDS in the region;

  • To identify and adapt effective HIV/AIDS prevention strategies for women and girls.

More than 70% of the final stage of implementation of the Schistosomiasis (an internal infection from adult male and female worms) survey has been completed. Within 30-45 days the final report of the survey will be ready. This survey is very important to ascertain the prevalence and intensity of the infection within school children and to accordingly decide the interventions needed in Iraq.

Mother, Child and Reproductive Health

- 10 representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Central Organization of Statistical & Information Technology were this week trained on statistical data analysis using the statistical package "STATA". The training course held in Amman, Jordan from the 20th - 24th February 2005 and supported under the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund Primary Health Care Programme, will enable the participants to use "STATA" in effectively managing and restructuring data sets and to conduct simple analysis of health surveys and epidemiological studies. Furthermore, WHO will be providing the "STATA" software package to the Ministry of Health and the Central Organization of Statistical & Information Technology, for their further use in Iraq.

- 16 Laboratory Technicians from both the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works have completed a 10 day training course in Amman, entitled "Simplified Procedure for Water Examination", supported by WHO under the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund Water Quality Control Programme.

Environmental Health (cont...)

- 21 Food Inspectors - 19 from the Ministry of Health, Health Audit Department and two from the Karbala and Anbar Departments of Health, Health Audit - continue to be trained this week in Food Safety. As reported last week, the second food safety training course in a series of four courses started on the 21st February and will continue until the 5th March, supported by WHO and using funds from the EC/UNDP Thematic Trust Fund. Specifically this week, field visits were conducted which included visits to slaughterhouses for red and white meat, a processing plant for meat products, a canning factory and a plant for dairy products.

- 25 participants from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Human Rights and Ministry of Higher Education of Iraq have completed a workshop on Health and Human Rights, conducted by WHO in collaboration with other partners. The three day workshop, which was funded under the UNDG Trust Fund Mental Health and Non-Communicable Disease Programme, was attended by a high level delegation including the Iraqi Minister of Health, a representative of the Ministry of Human Rights. The workshop aimed to build the capacity of health, human rights and education professionals in Iraq on health and human rights, by understanding linkages between health and human rights and national, regional and international frameworks on the right to health.

- A high level, multi-sectoral workshop on Basic Development Needs and Community Based Initiatives supported by WHO started this week and will be reported on fully next week.

Coordination / Other Activities / Other Information

- WHO Representative for Iraq this week met with the World Bank Health Focal Point from Washington (USA), and discussed joint collaboration programmes.

- H.E. the Minister of Environment visited Amman this week and met with the WHO Representative for Iraq and discussed the progress of the implementation of WHO programmes in 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: