Monday, September 08, 2008

Iraq the medical nightmare

The latest grim update comes from Hillah, the capital of Babil province south of Baghdad, where health officials have begun using loudspeakers to urge people not to eat ice cream or juice from vendors because it might be made with dirty water. Dr. Ahmed Ajrash, the deputy director of Babil's health directorate, said today that two people had died of confirmed cases of cholera in Babil.
There are 10 suspicious cases, not yet confirmed as the water-borne disease. In Hashimiya, about 18 miles south of Hillah, medical officials say they have seen 250 cases of severe watery diarrhea, some of which may turn out to be cholera. Dozens more suspected cholera cases have turned up in other parts of the country.
The problem raises the question: How can a country with two major rivers -- the Tigris and the Euphrates -- not have sufficient clean water for its people? The problem stems from Iraq's aging water treatment facilities, which were damaged or destroyed during the war and have yet to be replaced or repaired.

The above is from Babylon & Beyond's "IRAQ: Lots of rivers, not enough water" (Los Angeles Times). That's from the paper's Iraq blog. In the New York Times this morning, Iraq's not a news topic, no report filed from Iraq. No news from Iraq.

Karin Laub (AP) finds some. Laub notes that an estimated 8,000 Iraqi doctors have fled their country since the start of the illegal war and that 800 have returned. Both figures are flawed. It is over 8,000 and the exit of doctors (male and female) was not just part of the 'brain drain' it was also the result of doctors (especially females) being targeted. 800 is the puppet government's latest figure and is not independently verified. They were saying it was 700 in August. They say whatever they want and no one bothers to verify it. It's also not true that "Doctors are just a tiny group among Iraq's more than 4 million refugees and displaced" because the doctors (and others) who left during the 'brain drain' are not considered refugees, they had the money to start over and left earlier in the illegal war before the sect divisions became as fixed.

As noted last night, one Iraqi died yesterday of cholera.

Also on the medical front, Qatar's Peninsula offers "Iraq moves to curb sales of counterfeit medicines:"

The Ministry of Health recently enforced drug laws in a deadline that largely had been ignored since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Although the laws remained in effect, the invasion and its aftermath led to a vacuum in enforcement while newly opened borders brought counterfeit goods flooding into the country. The government said the deadline was part of an effort to bring Iraq in line with international norms and clean up the burgeoning trade in fake drugs. There are two state-run pharmaceutical factories in Iraq, so 90 percent of the medications used here are imported. Nearly all are made by companies not registered in Iraq and are sold without being tested for efficacy.
"It's not medicine. It's just boxes, and God knows what's in them," said Adel Muhsin, the Health Ministry's inspector general. The laws requires each drug manufacturer sending products to Iraq to get a stamp of approval from the Health Ministry. Under the stepped-up enforcement, a sample of each imported drug is to be tested for efficacy and approved before going on the market. Teams of inspectors will do spot checks of pharmacies and drug warehouses and step up raids on markets where counterfeit dealers operate.

The plan is to return to the medical topics above in the snapshot today.

On the US presidential race, Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and his running mate is Matt Gonzalez. The Nader - Gonzalez team has set September 20th as their goal to be on the ballots in 45 states and they have already made the ballots in 38 states. That leaves seven to go in six days. Kyle notes this from Team Nader:

The Invisible Man


The Invisible Man .

The Invisible Man, song by 98 Degrees - Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons.


The revolution will not be televised - but thanks to your help, it will be on youtube. We passed our media fund goal of $100,000 and brought in over $20,000 yesterday alone!

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Karen Kilroy



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