WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 22 - 28 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 attended the National Conference on Nursing, held in the Ministry of Health (MOH), between the 23rd and 25th November 2004. The objective of the conference was to determine the mechanisms for the implementation of the national strategy to develop nursing and midwifery. The conference was chaired His Excellency the Minister of Health and attended by more than 300 participants from the MOH, Ministry of Higher Education, the Commission of Technical Institutes, faculty members of Nursing Colleges and Institutes, nurses from the service level, national NGOs and the media. The recommendations of the conference are being reviewed by the MOH and will be circulated, once they have been endorsed by H.E. the Minister of Health.

- WHO met with the Director and senior staff of the Vaccine and Sera Institute in the MOH and discussed the issue of developing a proposal to upgrade the institute, which was severely affected by the events of March and April 2003.

- WHO continues to support vaccine defaulters tracing, conducted in Daqoq district (Kirkuk) during the monthly NID, on the 22nd November 2004.

- WHO participated in an advocacy meeting for MMR vaccination of school children in Kirkuk, on the 23rd November 2004.

- WHO has reviewed and analyzed the IMCI training proposals submitted by the Maternal and Child Health unit of the MOH. A brief report on IMCI backgrounds, main objectives and expected outcome, with a summary of the total costs of the training courses was made and approved for implementation.

- WHO has reviewed a proposed list of supplies and equipments, provided by the Maternal and Child Health unit of the MOH, and has provided technical support on the choice and quantity of certain items.

- WHO has prepared a report for the MOH on the main points to be examined, regarding the assessment of maternal and child care services, at primary health care centres.

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

- The physical rehabilitation of the MOH Nursing Schools in Yarmuk (Baghdad) and Basra, as well as the National Blood Transfusion Centre (Stage One) in Baghdad, has all been completed. These major activities were made possible thanks to the support of the EC/UNDP Thematic Iraq Trust Fund. Other projects supported by this Fund include: o The physical rehabilitation of the Nursing School of Sulaymaniyah - which is currently achieving an implementation rate of 98%; o The physical rehabilitation of the National Blood Transfusion Centre (Stage Two) - which is currently achieving an implementation rate of 98%.

- As part of the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund National Drug Quality Control Laboratory Programme, a committee from the MOH and WHO handed over the proposed site to the contractor, to begin implementation of the physical rehabilitation section of the programme.

- This week, WHO met with the MOH Director General of Technical Affairs and discussed the possible mechanisms for MOH staff development, in the areas of programme planning and management; and health economics.

- On the 27th November, WHO shipped 510 cartons of health literature into Baghdad. This health literature - requested by the MOH - will be used in a variety of health institutions throughout Iraq, supporting the information needs of health workers and other health stakeholders.

- In response to two requests from the MOH, WHO procured and shipped five pallets of Angised Tablets (valued at US$139,000) and nine packs of sutures (valued at US$43,000) into Baghdad. They are to be received by the MOH and distributed throughout Iraq on a needs basis.

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

- No new cholera cases have been reported since 15th November 2004, in spite of active case tracing. The following graph shows the distribution of Cholera cases (Inaba and Ogawa) since 19th April till 21st November 2004.

- CDC Baghdad has received the software needed for the Schistosomiasis and STH survey. All requirements to conduct the survey have been made available and it is expected that the survey will be conducted as soon as the situation permits.

Outcome 5: An enabling environment for healthy life styles ensured

- As part of the UNDG Iraqi Trust Fund Water Quality Control Programme, WHO held discussions with the Ministry of Environment on the steps to implement the rehabilitation of the Central Water Quality Control Laboratory and also the steps to be followed in order to nominate candidates from the Ministry of Environment to attend the training courses in Amman on water quality control.

- WHO held discussions with the Ministry of Health on the details and requested information by the MOH, for a proposed project on Health Care Waste Management.

- WHO has prepared a draft work plan on environmental relief, for the displaced population of Fallujah.

- In support to the MOH food safety activities and specifically to the MOH Food Safety Laboratory (which is also being physically rehabilitated by WHO), WHO delivered into Baghdad in the past week: o Laboratory Equipment (9 packs) o Culture media (2 packs) o Serological Pipettes (1 pack) o Binocular/Trinocular Micro. Dosimeters (2 packets)

Coordination / Other Activities

- The WHO Representative for Iraq and UN Health Cluster Task Manager (Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer) returned from a four week mission to Baghdad, on the 25th November 2004. Following her return, Dr Al-Gasseer briefed the UN Heads of Agencies for Iraq and Secretary General's Special Representative for Iraq on the mission. Dr Al-Gasseer is now attending the 20th meeting of the WHO Regional Director with WHO Representatives and Regional Office staff, in Cairo from the 28th November -- 2nd December 2004.

- WHO participated in a "Remote Management Workshop" on the 21st and 22nd of November, which was organized by NCCI, funded by Oxfam and attended by NGOs, IOs and Donors working in Iraq. The workshop was held due to the continued deterioration in the security environment for humanitarian staff and operations in Iraq, and the need to examine what has been learned so far about adapting programmes to new realities.

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