WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 25 - 31 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.
Successful Polio Vaccination Campaign Reaches 4.4 million Children

A successful national Polio Vaccination Campaign, conducted this week by the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation and other key health partners, reached 4.4 million children this week (according to the latest field reports). Of the target population of 4.7 million children, 93% was reached; in response to recent outbreaks of Polio in countries in the region. The second round of emergency National Immunisation Days ended successfully in all governorates, except small subdistricts in the Anbar Governorate, where 3,000 children were not accessed due to insecurity (plans are in place to cover these children once the situation allows).

Access to Quality Health Services

In its efforts to provide access to quality health services, significant efforts are being undertaken by WHO to rehabilitate health facilities throughout Iraq:

- The third stage of rehabilitation of the National Blood Transfusion Centre in Baghdad is 60% complete;

- Of the 23 Primary Health Care Centre Rehabilitation Projects (each project consisting of up to 14 PHC centres) being undertaken, 4 are currently under the bidding process and 19 are in the stage of implementation.[Al-anba, Babel, Karbala (45%), Najaf (2%), Waste (90%), Baquba, Maysan, Erbil, Duhok, Basra, Nasrya, Muthana (55%), Karkuk group 1 ( 26%), Karkuk group 2 (34%), Basrah (52%), Salahdine (100%), Basrah (39%, Muthana (7%), Mousl (38%)].

- Of the 19 Training Halls being rehabilitated, 2 are under the bidding process and 17 are in the stage of implementation
[Karbala(95%), Maysan(51%), Salahadine(75%), Nasirya(30%), Dewanya(20%),Duhok(98%), Baquba(50%), Anbar(30%), Erbil(32%), Muthana(20%), Babel(41%), Kirkuk(36%), Basrah(46%), Najaf(20%),Waste(60%), Mousl(100%), Suleimanyah(100%)].

- The Stage 1 rehabilitation of the National Drug Quality Control Laboratory is 92% complete.

Prevention and Control of Diseases - Communicable and Non-Communicable

According to data received from CDC Baghdad, 1,110 cases of Kala-Azar have been reported in whole Iraq during the first five months of 2005 compared to 2240 cases reported during the same months of 2004 which means more than 50% decrease in the incidence. For Malaria 7 cases have been reported during the first 5 months of 2005 compared to 28 cases reported during the same period of 2004 which indicates that Iraq should move into Malaria elimination phase. The graph below shows the distribution of Kala-Azar cases in Iraq during 2004 and the first 5 months of 2005.

Success can be attributed due to the prevention and control package provided by WHO-Iraq for:

1. Spraying campaigns conducted in April and September 2004 and in April 2005.

2. Full support for fogging activities from April to November 2004 as well as since April 2005 until today.

3. Provision and distribution of long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets.

4. Support to rodent control activities.

5. Health education activities to increase awareness of the community on the personal protective measures and how to use the bed nets.

6. Ensuring that the first line drugs and the diagnostic kits are available at governorate level.

7. Continuous contact with the responsible persons in CDC Baghdad and WHO focal points in different governorates.

To maintain the successes achieved, WHO-Iraq has prepared an emergency Malaria and Leishmania project proposal which will be submitted to the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund to make sure that all the Malaria and Leishmania prevention and control activities will be conducted on time and as planned.

In support to the Iraqi MOH Mental Health Programme, 6 mental healthcare units are being constructed, 4 in Najaf, Nasyria, Karkuk and Arbil, which are under implementation and 2 projects in Baghdad are under bidding. In addition, 6 mental healthcare units are being rehabilitated [Baghdad Karkh / Al-yarmok(65%), (Baquba(85%) , Babel(85%), Basrah(62%), Mousl (100%), Suleimanya(100%)] and 2 more under bidding.]

Environmental Health

The project for rehabilitating the Environmental Health Lab is at a 55% rate of implementation

Coordination / Other Activities

WHO and USAID held a series of meetings in Amman from the 25th July 2005, with the aim of increasing coordination of the support provided to the Ministry of health in Iraq. WHO confirmed that it supports the MOH through partnerships to strengthen the health system, focusing on Primary Health Care. Research Triangle Institute (RTI) is the primary implementing partner for USAID in Iraq (along with another contractor BASICS); and through their contract with RTI, USAID will continue to track output of training and respond to the needs of the providers. USAID stated that they would like to work in partnership with WHO and the MOH in:

1. Building a comprehensive strategy for PHC in a larger context focusing on district micro planning for all programs.

2. Strengthening the skills of the MoH at central and governorate level for budgeting and financing.

3. Finalizing the package of services and identify other services which might not be on the MoH agenda such as ViT A and Zinc.

4. Facilitating outreach activities, and community based approaches.

5. Strengthening management capacities and leadership development and support decentralization and devolution of authority.

6. Strengthening partnerships and coordination unit.

7. BASICS will be working on IYFC strategy and trainings to improve communication programs of MoH, study tours ( maternal neonatal health), family planning study tour in Indonesia and Egypt and virtual leadership training.


you for taking the time to read this bulletin. If you would like any further information on WHO in Iraq, please do not to contact the World Health Organisation Representative for Iraq -- Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer -- on visit the WHO-Iraq website: