Iraq: death of a generation
Iraq, Health, 2/24/2000
The numerous death cases and those of killer diseases befalling Iraqi children in the dramatically poorly equipped hospitals stand witness to the death of a whole generation in the sanction-stricken Arab country.
The physicians, who daily diagnose diseases like lymphoma cancer or leukemia, know that the children have slim chances to survive.
Eight-year-old Ussama is a telling example. He has been in a coma for eight days at the cancer service of the Baghdad-based Saddam hospital. The service has taken the name of "the death ward," in view of the high number of death cases. Ussama's lymphoma cancer is worsened by an anemia that makes his treatment more difficult.
Dr. Bassem Attallah Abdali told MAP's special envoy, "Every day we diagnose two cancer cases and the death rate of children with leukemia stands at 100%."
Figures disclosed Wednesday by the Iraqi health department show that more than 12,000 children and elderly have died since last January due to the sanctions.
Diarrhoea, pneumonia, breathing infections, malnutrition, hypertension, heart diseases and cancer were cited as the major causes of death.
The figure brings to 1.27 million the death toll among children and elderly since 1990, the department said.
The Saddam hospital's waiting hall is decorated with children's paintings, ornamenting the desolate building. "End the Children's Massacre" reads a painting, decrying the U.N. sanctions decreed by the United Nations Security Council against Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait in 1991.
The hospital, which was built in 1986 to accommodate 360 patients, now receives 1,000 daily, Dr. Bassem says.
Malnutrition is the major problem facing Iraqi children, as it weakens their immunity and makes them vulnerable to incurable and killer diseases.
"The medicines available are insufficient to treat the patients, while the vaccines are inefficient or are just outdated, because of the long distance they cross between Jordan and Iraq before reaching the hospitals," says the physician.
Some diseases that have been eradicated before the Gulf War, like the whooping cough and polio, appeared again in Iraq. Other diseases, including cholera, malaria and cancer are becoming more and more commonplace due to the use of chemical weapons against Iraq, physicians say.
The doctors, who are in a state of deep despair, argue that several diseases could have been easily cured, had the embargo been lifted.
Sanctions kills over one million children, Iraqi health minister
Red Cross warns of negative effects of sanctions against Iraq
Head of the childhood fund affiliated to UN starts visit to Iraq
Please add a link on your webiste pointing to ArabicNews.com and bookmark ArabicNews.com & subscribe to our daily email news bulletin.
| Advertise on ArabicNews.com. MyFlowers.com sold more than $2700 of flowers in one month advertising on ArabicNews.com! Make your company, and products a success. Special rate for new and small business. Inquire!Advertising Info