Socialist Worker

Iraq occupation leads to health crisis

Issue No. 2086

Despite George Bush hailing the success of the “surge” strategy in Iraq, evidence that life for ordinary Iraqis continues to get worse is mounting.

Kamel Mahdi is a nurse at Baghdad’s Al-Alwiyah Pediatric Hospital. She reports, “We’re not only facing an increase in the number of patients, but we are seeing more seriously ill and seriously injured patients.”

Mahdi, who has worked as a nurse in Iraq for seven years, adds, “We lack lifesaving medicine like potassium and IV solutions as well as basic equipment and supplies needed to care for our patients properly.”

Cholera is now present in Baghdad.

“Many of the admissions we get are emergency cases of gastroenteritis, mostly from drinking contaminated water,” says Mahdi.

“But we don’t have enough antibiotics to treat the infections.”

The hospital suffers from a scarcity of basic equipment, such as stethoscopes, thermometers, and plastic gloves.

The director of the Iraqi Nursing Association, Ali Kareem Khdayer, says conditions inside the country’s hospitals are in steady decline.

“Many hospitals in Iraq are in desperate need of repair, and most of the equipment is outdated.”

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