WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 29 Nov - 05 Dec 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 in collaboration with the MOH and the Central Statistical Office at the Ministry of Planning, conducted a Maternal Mortality Rate Workshop in Amman, from the 29th November to 2nd December 2004. With the support of WHO HQ expertise, and led by the MOH Maternal and Child Health Unit Director, participants discussed the preparation of the dataset, merging the two surveys data (south/centre and the north) and derivation of the appropriate weights and standardisation of data files for the further in-depth analysis.

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

- As part of the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund, 'Strengthening Primary Health Care Programme' WHO delivered 20 vehicles to the MOH Baghdad, for onward distribution to the governorates. Unfortunately during delivery, two of the vehicles were stolen en route inside Iraq and WHO is following up with the suppliers for a rapid replacement.

- WHO delivered a range of medical supplies and drugs to the MOH/Kimadia warehouse in the past week, which included stomach tubes, urine bags, chronic illness drugs and others. WHO had procured these items in response to the Ministry's urgent request.

- WHO continued to support the MOH committee for monitoring for the supply of drugs and medical supplies in Iraq. WHO started its logistic support to Kimadia, in order to conduct a pilot survey for building up the drug monitoring system. This pilot project will take two months, following which a proposal will be developed to establish a nationwide drug monitoring system. The support WHO is providing - besides direct technical support (pharmaceutical and computer programming) - includes vehicles rentals, DSA to supervisors, computers and hard and software supplies.

- WHO conducted a three day training course in Baghdad, on HINARI for faculty members from Baghdad Medical College.

Outcome 4: Enhance disease prevention and control, including HIV / AIDS

- No new cholera cases have been reported in Basra since the 15th November 2004, in spite of active case tracing.

- A technical review is ongoing by WHO for the Leishmaniasis workers guidelines which have been received from CDC Baghdad.

- WHO has signed a contract with MERLIN - which is one of the NGOs working inside Baghdad - with the of conducting training of trainers in CDC Baghdad, concerning many communicable diseases issues; including diarrhoeal diseases, ARI, Zoonoses, Bilhariasis, Malaria, vector control and AFP surveillance.

- The Plan of Action for Mental Health (part of the UNDG Trust Fund 'Mental Health and Non-Communicable Disease Programme') was endorsed by H.E. the Ministry of Health - of which two activities are currently underway: a 'Refresher Course for psychiatrists' in Amman and a workshop on 'Country Assessment of Mental Health' being held in Milan both activities will have further information next week).

- WHO has sent five Iraqi physicians on medical fellowships this week. One physician is undertaking a fellowship training on "Zoonotic Diseases" in Parasitological & Immunological Laboratories at the Al Yarmouk University, Amman-Irbid. The fellowship will run for 17 days, starting the 21st November till the 6th December. The other four physicians are undertaking a fellowship on Bionomics, Molecular Biology and Control of Mosquito Vectors, at the Ain Shams University in Cairo. This fellowship will last 6 weeks, starting the 28th November 2004 until the 6th January 2005. The objective of this latter course is to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and practical skills in molecular approaches and methods to

Outcome 5: An enabling environment for healthy life styles ensured

- WHO participated at a joint meeting between representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment at the Department of the Health Inspection / MOH, to determine the strategy and steps for implementing the four environmental health programmes - chemical safety, healthy villages, water quality, and water technology.

- WHO held discussions with the Department of Radiation Protection / Ministry of Environment, on their request for supplies and equipment to carry out their functions; and is closely collaborating with UNIDO in this area.

Outcome 6: Emergency preparedness and response ensured

- Technical discussions have been initiated between the MOH and WHO, to start a comprehensive multi-sectoral disaster management programme, as part of WHO efforts to support MOH emergency preparedness plans. WHO has provided direct support to the Minister of Industry by providing the Emergency Operations Cell with a health expert.

Coordination / Other Activities

- WHO actively participated in the MOH celebration of the World AIDS Day on the 1st December. The activity was a symposium on HIV/AIDS, attended by MOH staff as well as members of various sectors. The WHO support to the MOH in this area was acknowledged through presenting the WHO with an engraved plate from the MOH and the delivery of an address from Dr Al-Gezairy - WHO Regional Director.

- WHO initiated it's logistic support to the Engineering Department of the MOH, to strengthen its supervision activities on all engineering sites nationwide, where processes of rehabilitation are being undertaken. The support - which started on the 1st December - includes direct provision of three technical experts, vehicles rentals and paying DSA to supervisors.

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