WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 28 Feb - 06 Mar 2005

Situation Report
Originally published
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.

Human Resource Development for Health

- Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al-Hussain the WHO Regional Patron for Nursing and Midwifery this week presented the completion certificates to 18 Iraqi Nurses at the closing ceremony of the "Nursing Mentorship Course" conducted by WHO and the Jordanian Council of Nurses.

- 47 participants from the Ministry of Health and WHO attended a Results Based Management Workshop this week organised by WHO in Amman. The workshop builds the national capacity of the Ministry directly in introducing Results-Based Management and the application of the logical approach programme development. The workshop provided t training on the preparation and the use of a results framework in MOH-WHO joint collaborative areas.

Access to Quality Health Services

- 32 representatives from 15 Iraqi Ministries and Institutions participated this week in the Community Based Initiatives Workshop in Amman. The Ministries represented comprised: Health; Environment; Education; Industry and Minerals; Youth and Sport; Human Rights; Women; Planning; Municipalities and Public Works; Agriculture; Higher Education; Social Affairs; and the Sunni and Shiite Religious Revolving Funds. Supported by WHO with funding from the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund Primary Health Care Programme, the major output of the workshop was the launch of the Iraqi Community Based Initiatives Programme, led by the Ministry of Health. The Community Based Initiatives Programme acts on empowering the communities to be self reliant, to create local initiatives, to have a community-based structure and to have actions to improve their own lives.

The workshop was opened by H.E. Dr. Mashkat Moemen, the Minister of Environment, who underlined the importance of improving the health, environment, conditions of women, human rights and facilitating the activities of civil society to be partners in local development.

The objectives of the workshop were to provide orientation and briefing on the main elements of community based initiatives, approaches and structures and also to agree on the project areas and institutional arrangements for implementation of the programme. A detailed plan of action for the implementation of the programme was written by the participants and presented at the closing ceremony of the workshop, which will now be implemented by the Ministries represented at the workshop, with the continued support of WHO.

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

- The final stage of the Ministry of Health Viral Hepatitis Research Study has been started in Iraq, nationwide. WHO has provided technical and logistical support to conduct the research study, in order to ascertain the prevalence and incidence of all types of viral Hepatitis in Iraq. This study will provide baseline data about viral Hepatitis and will determinethe types of interventions needed.

Mother, Child and Reproductive Health

- 14 representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Iraqi Central Organization of Statistical and Information Technology and WHO attended a meeting in Amman at the Jordanian Ministry of Planning on further analysis of maternal and child mortality in Iraq, from the 27th February - 2nd March 2005. The meeting, supported by WHO under the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund Primary Health Care Programme produced a draft report on results of maternal estimates and future plans for replication were discussed.

Environmental Health

21 food inspectors completed a National Food Safety Training Course this week, conducted by WHO in partnership with the Jordan Food and Drug Administration. The workshop - the second in a series of four for the Iraqi Ministry of Health - concluded with field visits, including a tour of the food control facilities within the Aqaba Special Zone Authority. After the training course, the participants held a wrap-up meeting with WHO, led by the WHO Representative for Iraq, during which next steps to implement the strategies and plan of action based on the specific needs of each governorate were discussed. The third training course in the series also supported by the EC/UNDP Thematic Trust Fund with another group of 26 food inspectors, will start on the 7th March.

Prevention and Control of Diseases - Communicable and Non-Communicable

- 333 cases of Kala-Azar were reported in Iraq in January 2005, down 36% compared to the 516 cases that were reported in January 2004. Kala-Azar is a seasonal disease that is recognized as an important public health problem, owing to its impact on morbidity and its potential to spread in epidemics. It is a parasitic disease transmitted by infected sand flies between wild and domestic animals

- humans are infected when they interrupt this natural cycle. It is characterized by prolonged irregular fever, spleenomegaly, hepatomegaly and anaemia. WHO has provided substantial technical and logistical support to the Ministry of Health in the prevention and control of the disease, which has contributed to this reduced incidence rate. This support included the nationwide preventative fogging and spraying campaigns that were conducted in April and September 2004 (due to start again soon), the procurement and distribution of impregnated bed nets to all governorates in Iraq and the provision of health education materials to the Ministry.

- An emergency meeting was convened in the Directorate of Health in Kirkuk with participation from a WHO focal point, in response to the Cutaneous Leishmaniasis cases reported in Al Hawija district in Kirkuk and to discuss the issue of an appropriate response. An awareness campaign for the community is ongoing to ensure that all the cases are detected and will not be a source of infection when the transmission period of the disease started. The district will be included in the preventative spraying and fogging campaigns which will be conducted in April, with the technical and logistical support of WHO.

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: