WHO in Iraq: Weekly Bulletin 30 May - 5 Jun 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.
Access to Quality Health Services

All 30 drugs for chronic diseases used in Iraq were sufficient to meet the total needs of the registered patients for the month of May. This was the major finding of a meeting held on 29th May between WHO and Ministry of Health, to discuss the situation of drug supply in general and in particular the availability and distribution of drugs for chronic diseases during May. This is a positive improvement in the drug supply management, compared to recent months, where shortage of drugs for chronic diseases has been a re-occurring phenomenon. It was noted, however, that topical drugs – especially skin ointments locally produced by the Samara Drugs Industries – are generally in short supply, due to insufficient raw materials.

Prevention and Control of Diseases – Communicable and Non-Communicable

In 2005, no new Cholera cases have been reported in Iraq, according to data from the Communicable Disease Control Centre, Baghdad. Whilst this achievement is reported, the incidence of diarrhoeal cases is expected to increase during summer months. The graph below shows the number of Cholera cases in Iraq from 1990 to 2004 - only 35 cases were reported during 2004. WHO has supported the Ministry of Health continually in the surveillance, prevention and control of Cholera through health education activities, distribution of chlorine tablets and jerry cans and ensuring the provision of Oral Re-Hydration Solution and IV fluids.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health was represented at the 5th Inter-Country Meeting of National Malaria Programme Managers, due to the support of WHO. The meeting was conducted in Cairo from 29th – 31st May 2005 and had the main of objectives to:

- Review the progress made and challenges facing implementation of Roll Back Malaria strategies in Malaria endemic countries;

- Follow-up on the implementation of the recommendations of meetings and workshops conducted during 2004;

- Discuss community-based action and integrated strategies to scale up coverage of Malaria treatment and Insecticides Treated Nets;

- Present the WHO expected results for 2006-07 and develop country specific expected results and comprehensive plans of action including WHO joint activities for the coming biennium.

The meeting recognised the success achieved by the Iraqi Ministry of Health in controlling Malaria and has recommended that the Malaria Programme in Iraq be moved from Malaria control to Malaria Elimination.

Three members of the Iraq Ministry of Health are attending a WHO training course on Mental Health, for preparatory supervisors from the 29th May – 9th June in Cairo. Their participation forms part of the UNDG ITF Mental Health and NonCommunicable Disease Programme. The course aims to build national training capacity by training of trainers, to organize national training activities on the integration of mental health into Primary Health Care services, School Mental Health, raising awareness on mental health issues and the role of voluntary societies.

World No Tobacco Day was observed by the Iraqi Ministry of Health on the 31st May, at an event in which WHO participated. The event was attended by senior level staff from the Ministry of Health, other line ministries, civil society and other stakeholders. World No Tobacco Day was dedicated to the important role of health professionals in tobacco control under the banner of 'Health Professionals against tobacco, action and answers.

Environmental Health

34 boxes of WHO publications in Environmental Health were delivered to the Ministry of Environment, Baghdad this week, to be distributed to the Iraqi Universities, for the occasion of World Environment Day , held on the 5th June 2005.

Coordination / Other Activities / Other Information

WHO participated in the WFP mid-term review of the Emergency Operation Project known as Assistance to Primary School Children and Vulnerable Groups, from 30th – 31st May 2005. WHO Representative for Iraq, Dr. Naeema Al-Gasseer, in her capacity as UN Health and Nutrition Cluster Task Manager, made a presentation on the activities of the UN Clusterin Iraq and the support provided by the Cluster to different ministries and other stakeholders. An overview of Cluster activities complementing those that are implemented by WFP under EMOP were also highlighted with a view to enhancing coordination mechanisms amongst UN agencies and Iraqi counterparts.

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: