war in iraq


WHO concerned by growing pressure on hospitals and health workers

April 10, 2003

The World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated its alarm of recent days at reports from Baghdad of serious civilian casualties and growing pressure on hospitals and health workers. Electricity supplies were erratic, standby generators were being overworked to the point of collapse, and many hospitals were running short of clean, safe water, spokesperson Fadela Chaib said.

Staff were working extremely long hours in unimaginable circumstances and some vital surgical and medical supplies were running short, she added. Without clean water, wounds could not be cleaned and could readily become septic, and without electricity, vital equipment could not operate. Under these circumstances WHO warned that surgery becomes more of a threat than a solution.

WHO reminded all those involved in the conflict of their obligation to protect the neutrality of medical facilities and health workers.

WHO was flying in 50 surgical kits, due to arrive in Amman today or tomorrow with sufficient anaesthetics, surgical equipment and medical disposables, such as bandages and syringes, for 5,000 surgical interventions and several days' post-operative care, she added.

The agency said reports from much of the rest of central and southern Iraq were even worse than from Baghdad, and it was extremely concerned about the situation in Nasiriya, Najaf, Karbala and many other towns where there had been conflict, where water and power shortages were also reported, and where the health needs had not been assessed.

Source: World Health Organization


war in iraq