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Iraq: Children Dying of Insufficient Equipments in Hospitals

Pooja Pooja,Shimla, INDIA
Jan 20 2007, 7:14 am GMT

iraqchild_50The condition of children is deplorable in Iraqi hospitals since, the hospitals are running short of equipments.

Many doctors throughout hospitals in Baghdad complain of insufficient electricity and clean water, for which they blame foreign companies who have failed to live up to their reconstruction contracts.

Sick or injured children are left to die in there, as they do not have access to basic medicines. ‘Children who have lost hands, feet and limbs are left without prostheses. Children with grave psychological distress are left untreated.’

Iraqi doctors, British doctors who have worked in Iraqi hospitals, and leading UK consultants and GPs have put forward the desperate shortages to Tony Blair.

The condition is so appalling that newborns are being put under ventilation with a plastic tube, while other babies are dying because of the lack of a phial of vitamin K or sterile needles. Hospitals have become a hub for spreading infections because of the shortage of surgical gloves.

There isn’t enough money to buy expensive ‘formula milk or bottled water’ so the kids are fed on powdered milk diluted with tap water. Again, this water is likely to be contaminated because of improper sewage system and dormant waste.

Cases have come up where a child has died because of the need of ‘sterile needle’ while ‘oxygen mask’ was a requirement in other case.

Doctors say the UK, as one of the occupying powers under UN resolution 1483, has to comply with the Geneva and Hague conventions that require the UK and the US to ‘maintain order and to look after the medical needs of the population’. But, the doctors say, ‘This they failed to do and the knock-on effect of this failure is affecting Iraqi children’s hospitals with increasing ferocity.’

They say that all revenues from Iraq’s oil exports should now pass directly to the Iraqi people and those illegal contracts entered into by the Coalition Provisional Authority be repealed.

A system in meltdown

1. Nearly, 59 out of 1000 newborns are dying in Iraq, one of the highest mortality rates in the world.

2. One doctor in a Baghdad hospital recently tried to save the life of a child with a drip, but he lacked a sterile needle for a child and the child died.

3. Three immature babies are crammed into one incubator because of insufficiency of equipments.

4. Up to 260,000 children may have died since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The solution

Although, the condition is terrible but it could only recoup by giving them international aid and monitoring the fund every now and then. In addition, safety of the medical professionals must top the agenda.

As we have seen that hospitals have been bombed and ambulances shot at. Thus, helicopters could be laid on by the US and UK to ferry cases to Jordan, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia for treatment of acute trauma and disease.

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