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Interview: Egypt needs to do more for trauma care

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Interview: Egypt needs to do more for trauma care

A Picture Shows Intensive Care Unit In Cairo’s Mounira Hospital

Cairo: At least 3,675 people died in Egypt in 2015 as a result of injuries caused by road accidents, burns, poisoning and other reasons that are considered largely preventable.

Statistics provided by the Central Administration for Critical and Urgent Care, although not comprehensive, showed that violence-related accidents like: fights, fire shooting, explosion of strange bodies and shells account for around 21 percent of the total 7,053 accidents cited last year.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO,) injuries and violence are among the most prominent public health problems globally, and a leading cause of mortality; many of the non-fatal injuries result in health consequences and life-long disabilities.

A huge fire erupted May 9 at a Cairo hotel and extended to four other buildings in El-Roweay district, in Ataba, leaving dozens injured. Photo by Hassan Mohamed / Youm7

A huge fire erupted May 9 at a Cairo hotel and extended to four other buildings in El-Roweay district, in Ataba, leaving dozens

On the top of a list containing 29 types of accidents in Egypt, traffic crashes account for 53.3 percent of the total accidents. Around 3 percent of the road injuries suffer disability, Dr. Khaled el-Khateeb, head of Central Administration for Critical and Urgent Care said in an interview with The Cairo Post.

Cairo has witnessed the highest number of accidents amounting to 850, while the restive area of North Sinai saw 279 last year, according to the administration’s report that did not detail types of accidents in each governorate.

The emergency sector in Egypt has faced many challenges since 2011 Revolution, said El-Khateeb, adding that doctors dealt with new kinds of violence-related injuries in huge numbers, “it was like an exam to us at this time.”

Now, Sinai is facing a “war” that results in many fatal injuries, according to El-Khateeb. “As trauma doctors are afraid to be assigned there, we mostly depend on Sinai-based doctors, and volunteering rapid deployment teams.”

Egypt should pay utmost attention to trauma care and services,” said Dr. El-Khateeb, as he cites citizens’ complaints over lack of beds at intensive care (ICU) and burns treatment units.

The administration, which is part of the health ministry, was officially launched in 2010, where it was tasked with operating emergency and ambulance departments only. Other departments like burns, poisons and pre-term birth care were not working efficiently or even been monitored then.

“That’s why we chose the toughest task, which is bringing all these departments to work under the administration,” continued El-Khateeb.

Logo showing departments of Central Administration for Critical and Urgent Care. Photo courtesy of head of administration Khaled el-Khateeb.

Logo showing departments of Central Administration for Critical and Urgent Care

Where does Egypt stand in trauma care?

“Talking about trauma care mainly means swift ambulance service, and good emergency care,” said El-Khateeb, adding that the administration in the beginning focused on assessing the status-quo of the emergency departments after former health ministers raised efficiency of the ambulance sector with fully equipped vehicles.

Police open the way for ambulances carrying the bodies of passengers of a Russian airliner which crashed in Sinai, into a morgue in Cairo, Egypt, October 31, 2015. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Police open the way for ambulances carrying the bodies of passengers of a Russian airliner which crashed in Sinai, into a morgue October 31, 2015

First of all, he said that the emergency sector suffers a big problem, which is lack of staff; he cited students’ reluctance to register at medicine faculties, attributing the reason to low salaries and incentives allocated to trauma doctors.

Egypt has currently around 10,300 intensive care beds in both public and private hospitals; the figure is “very low” compared to other countries, said El-Khateeb.

“Egypt’s rate is equal to one bed for each 9,000 citizens; in some neighboring states, it is one bed for 7,000 citizens, while in the U.S., the rate is one bed for each 5,000 citizens,” he added.

According to El-Khateeb, at least 3,000 additional intensive care beds are needed so that the country can meet people’s need for urgent services, “but both public and private hospitals should share responsibility to provide them.”

A picture shows patients lying on beds inside an intensive care unit in Egypt. Photo credit: Youm7.

A picture shows patients lying on beds inside an intensive care unit in Egypt

The head of the administration added that “around 1,300 incubators are also needed at pre-term birth care units.”

We do not ignore the fact that there are deficiencies in the emergency care units; however, we have short and long term plans to eliminate such deficiencies because maintaining people’s health is our mission,” El-Khateeb added.

Egypt’s to-do-list for injury prevention

According to a 2014 WHO report on injury prevention, more than 5 million people die each year as a result of injuries, making 9% of the world’s deaths, nearly 1.7 times the number of fatalities that result from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

Illustration shows deaths as a result of injury per year exceeding rate of infection with serious diseases. Photo taken from a 2014 report by World Health Organization on Injury prevention.

Illustration shows deaths as a result of injury per year exceeding rate of infection with serious diseases

The report said that low and middle income countries have higher rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries than wealthier ones; however, it stressed that successful adoption of preventable measures has significantly reduced injuries in some countries.

El-Khateeb explained to The Cairo Post that a plan to prevent injuries has been designed by the administration, in cooperation with WHO, based on two axes: therapeutic and preventive measures.

The Cairo Post Reporter Nourhan Magdi interviewing Dr. Khaled el-Khateeb, head of Central Administration for Critical and Urgent Care.

The Cairo Post Reporter Nourhan Magdi interviewing Dr. Khaled el-Khateeb, head of Central Administration for Critical and Urgent Care

The therapeutic care measures includes: raising efficiency of hospitals by classifying them into three categories of A, B and C, and providing them with emergency devices according to their proximity to highways and the number of trauma patients checking in.

The Ministry of Health has cooperated with WHO in conducting training sessions to 300-400 doctors and 200-300 nurses in emergency, burns and intensive care services, El-Khateeb added.

As part of the ministry’s short-term development plan for emergency departments, El-Khateeb mentioned that 300 new intensive care beds, 500 incubators and 28 burns treatment units will be added by the financial year 2016/2017. The total cost of the plan for the same FY is around 150 million EGP.

An awareness campaign, funded by WHO, is among preventive measures, with TV ads and printed flyers aiming at raising people’s and students’ awareness against all types of injuries.

Road injuries: pre-hospital care   

Despite road accidents being on the top of Egypt’s agenda with new established roads, renewed bridges and drug screening carried out to drivers, annual death toll as a result of traffic injuries is still on the rise.

In 2015, Egypt’s road accidents recorded an increase, reaching 14,548 resulting in 6,203 deaths, 19,325 injured and 19,116 damaged vehicles, according to a latest report by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS.)

Bus accident- Youm7

Bus accident

By 2030, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the 7th leading cause of death, according to WHO report.

“Unfortunately, victims of traffic injuries are mostly youth,” El-Khateeb said, adding that one of the main long-term projects he seeks to adopt is establishing trauma centers on highways.

He explained “instead of waiting until the injured is transferred to an internal hospital inside a governorate in order to receive the necessary care, which would cost him his life, trauma centers will be built to provide urgent pre-hospital care to stabilize the patient’s condition.”

Egypt is among 10 states enrolled in the UN Decade of Action program for road safety that aims to halve the rate of traffic deaths by 2020.

(Source / 24.07.2016)


Written by altahrir

July 24, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Zorg / Health

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Chilcot verdict: Tony B_liar

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By Jamal Kanj

  Jamal Kanj

How many words does it take the British to say a liar? 2.6 million words to be exact.

The Chiclot report had also painted Tony Blair as submissive to George W Bush, and lacked rudimentary judgment when evaluating intelligence data.

According to the report, eight months before the invasion of Iraq, Blair authored a six-page personal memo to Bush. In the memo Blair posited a deeply entrenched oxymoronic colonial view suggesting that occupation would “free up the region.” He somehow believed he would free the poor Iraqis by occupying them, just like his ancestors argued long ago that colonialism was altruistic venture to help the colonized. Who knows, the victor might one day claim that torture in Abu Ghraib prison was a dividend of the exported democracy.

The most revealing part of the personal memo was however, Blair’s pledge to Bush: “I will be with you whatever.” I did a double take on it, for the statement sounded more like a communication between two teenagers who were high on drugs rather than world leaders committing to a war with incalculable consequences.

Blair attempted to rationalize deferring to Bush the decision to take the UK to war asserting that by joining Bush he would bring a positive influence on US policy after the occupation of Iraq. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how Blair could bring a value eight months after he committed “whatever” to his buddy in Washington.

I had argued myriad of times in this column that the Iraq war was designed in the dens of US Pentagon by a team of Israeli firsters―some of whom were investigated by the FBI for being Israel spies―including Paul Wolfowitz, David Frum, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen to name just few.

Blair adopted the Israeli firsters’ view of the contrived Iraqi threat and ignored his own UK joint intelligence committee which had concluded that unlike Iran or N Korea, Iraq didn’t have immediate capabilities to produce enough fissile material for a weapon. In fact now, Blair’s deputy at the time, John Prescott who supported the war, had turned against his previous boss admitting that the basis for going to war were “tittle-tattle”

American Zioncons had designed a blue print to breakup Iraq several years before Bush’s election. The Israeli firsters envisioned a war financed by US taxpayers and fueled by the blood of American soldiers. They worked in Israeli think tanks in Washington and waited patiently for a gullible megalomaniac president to come to the White House.

Their blue print design was manifested by the first acts of the Zioncons’ appointed US administration in Iraq.  It dismantled the Iraqi army, imposed a sectarian political system and expanded the autonomous regional powers along sectarian and ethnic lines. The US Zioncons’ deeds in Baghdad germinated the seeds of Al Qaida and IS to grow in the new fertile sectarian environment.  

Ruining Iraq wasn’t enough for Bush. The Washington cowboy rewarded the ex UK prime minister with leading the so called Middle East Peace Quartet. Under Blair’s leadership the Quartet had become a fig leaf allowing the extremist Israeli rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu to violate with impunity all of Israel’s previous commitments to peace.

Eight years under his leadership, the Quartet achieved nothing but unfulfilled promises of economic crumps to Palestinians while the “Jewish only” colonies on stolen land grew at a faster pace.

Starting almost a century ago, colonial political chameleon Winston Churchill divided the Arab world with the French and transformed Palestine from a multi-cultural majority country into a European imported ethnocentric Jewish dominance.

In the post-colonial era, another political chameleon with his trademark strained facial muscles confused for a smile, coalesced with a Texan cowboy to implement the Israeli firsters’ vision of fragmenting the sub-nations and gulping what remained of Palestine by messianic “Jewish only” enclaves to end all hopes of peace in this region.

* Mr Kanj ( writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America.

Written by altahrir

July 18, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Jamal Kanj

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Gaza and drones: a horrific 51-day attack

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Women suffering (@Samar Abu Elouf)

Article 09.07.2016

Two years ago today, on July 7, 2014, the Israeli government launched a horrific 51-day air, land and sea attack on the people of Gaza. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fired missiles, rockets, artillery and tank shells relentlessly on 1.8 million Palestinians squashed by Israeli land and sea blockades into a narrow strip 25 miles long and five miles wide, one of the most densely populated places in the world. Nearly 500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli assassin drones.

Drone warfare has become the norm for both the United States and Israel. Drones fly above Gaza 24 hours a day watching the movements of every Palestinian and ready to fire rockets at those chosen to die by the IDF.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights documents that, from 2008 until October 2013, out of 2,269 Palestinians killed by Israel, 911 were killed by drones, most during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead. In the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, 143 out of 171 Palestinians killed by Israel were by drone attack.

In the 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights documents 497 Palestinians killed by drones, 32 percent of Palestinian deaths.

At the end of the 51 days, 2,310 Palestinians had been killed, 10,600 wounded, including 3,300 children; 872 homes were totally destroyed or severely damaged, and the homes of 5,005 families were damaged but still inhabitable; 138 schools were damaged or destroyed, 26 hospitals and health facilities were damaged. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 273,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had been displaced of whom 236,375 (over 11 percent of the Gazan population) were taking shelter in 88 United Nations schools.

Palestinian militias shot homemade rockets killing 66 Israeli soldiers, five Israeli civilians, including one child, and one Thai citizen in Israel.

The 51-day Israeli attack on Gaza should not be characterized as a war between opposing forces but rather as a massive one-sided attack on Palestinians made at the choosing of Israel with its overwhelming military air, sea and land forces backed up with endless military supplies and equipment from the United States, including the missile system called the “Iron Dome.”

Now two years after the Israeli attack on Gaza, tensions in the West Bank are exploding. Beginning in October 2015, a few West Bank Palestinian youth have forsaken non-violent confrontation with Israeli military and have taken up knives instead of rocks in the latest intifada against Israeli occupation and oppression, against the continued building of illegal settlements on Palestinian lands and against the imprisonment of hundreds of Palestinian youth. The use of knives against IDF soldiers has expanded to deaths of Israeli civilians as well, including a 13-year-old girl in her home. Thirty-four Israelis, two U.S. citizens, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed in the knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, and 214 Palestinians have been killed by IDF soldiers during this period.

The potential for Israeli response/revenge to these knife attacks is great and would probably not be directed to just the West Bank, but also toward Gaza.

As with other conflicts, the stories of death and of survival of civilians trapped in merciless bombings and fighting should compel leaders to work to end conflicts, but seldom do.

A new book published two days ago on July 5, 2016 chronicles the 2014 IDF attack on Gaza and focuses on the psychological and physical destruction suffered by the people of Gaza by one particular weapon system — the assassin drone that killed 497 during the 2014 attack.

Palestinian writer Atef Abu Saif provides the day-by-day life of a family and a community under fire from an enemy in the sky -beginning with July 7, 2014- two years ago today.

The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary” is a graphic description of life under fire and particularly with the assassin drone lurking in the sky 24 hours a day waiting for its next victim. “The drone keeps us company all night long. It’s whirring, whirring, whirring, whirring is incessant -as if it wants to remind us it’s there, it’s not going anywhere. It hangs just a little way above our heads.”

Atef writes the sound of the drones is close: “the noise of this new explosion subsides; it’s replaced by the inevitable whir of a drone, sounding so close it could be right beside us. It’s like it wants to join us for the evening and has pulled up an invisible chair.”

Atef describes his future during the 51-day attack: “Our fates are all in the hands of a drone operator in a military base somewhere just over the Israeli border. The operator looks at Gaza the way an unruly boy looks at the screen of a video game. He presses a button and might destroy an entire street. He might decide to terminate the life of someone walking along the pavement, or he might uproot a tree in an orchard that hasn’t yet borne fruit. The operator practices his aim at his own discretion, energized by the trust and power that has been put in his hands by his superiors.”

(Source / 17.07.2016)

Written by altahrir

July 17, 2016 at 7:16 pm

Posted in History

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Hundreds of Gazans hospitalized for food poisoning during Eid

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Bedorven vis

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — At least 1,000 Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip suffered from food poisoning from eating salted herring on the first on Wednesday and Thursday — the second day of Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.

After hundreds of residents of Khan Younis and Rafah were hospitalized for food poisoning, Gaza’s Ministry of the National Economy dumped four tons of herring from markets in the two districts, the ministry’s Under Secretary Imad al-Baz told Ma’an.
He added that merchants who were caught selling spoiled herring would be arrested.Lab tests determined that the salted herring were inedible due to inadequate storage or problems during the salting process. Herring, al-Baz said, need to be stored under 4 degrees Celsius.After the fasting throughout the holy month of Ramadan, herring is a popular Eid dish among Palestinians as they believe it helps avoid indigestion problems usually caused by eating a lot traditional Eid sweets and nuts while the stomach is still used to fasting.Al-Baz added that his ministry also found expired meat in some restaurants. “Some restaurants have been selling stale shawarma which was leftover from a day before.” Legal procedures, he asserted, will be taken against the owners.Director General of Hospitals the Ministry of Health Abd al-Latif al-Hajj said that in Khan Younis, 420 people were treated at the European Hospital and 311 at Nasser Hospital, and 60 were treated at Abu Yousif al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. Some 250 were taken to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
(Source / 10.07.2016)

Written by altahrir

July 10, 2016 at 6:37 pm

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Palestine Museum of Natural History

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Dr. Sana Atallah

Dr. Sana Atallah

The idea of a museum to research and document animals in Palestine came from the first Palestinian zoologist, Dr. Sana Atallah.  Born in 1943, Atallah grew up in Beit Sahour, Palestine and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science at the American University of Beirut.  His master’s thesis research was on rodents.  He then completed his PhD in 1969 at the University of Connecticut, U.S.A., on mammals of the Eastern Mediterranean region.  Offered a position at the Pahlavi University in Tehran (later called Shiraz University) in 1970, Atallah taught only one semester before being killed, at the age of 27, in a tragic car accident along with a student researcher.

Despite his young age, Atallah had already produced over a dozen scientific publications, and his doctoral thesis was published posthumously in two parts (1977 and 1978).  In the 1960s Atallah collected specimens from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine.  His research collection is now spread among many museums, including those at AUB, University of Connecticut, Shiraz University, and here in Palestine.  In 1972, David Harrison named a subspecies of the hare Lepus capensis atallahi in honor of his departed friend Atallah—who had earlier named a taxon in honor of Harrison (Acomys russatus harrisoni) and one in honor of his AUB advisor and friend (Acomys lewisi).

Dr. Sana Atallah

Dr. Sana Atallah

As a child, Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, founder of the Palestine Museum of Natural History, often accompanied his uncle Sana Atallah for research in the field, which inspired his love of nature in Palestine.  Qumsiyeh was thirteen years old when Atallah died in a car accident, and that is when he resolved not only to fulfill his uncle’s mission of doing research on mammals in the Arab world, but also to build a museum.

Baker Prof. Qumsiyeh & his PhD advisor Dr. Robert J. Baker

IMG_0931Prof. Qumsiyeh & B.U. Master’s students

Qumsiyeh finished high school in Bethlehem, among the top ten students in the Tawjihi matriculation exam for Palestinians (West Bank and Gaza).  He earned his bachelor’s degree at Jordan University and while still an undergraduate, published his first research paper (on new records of bats from Jordan).  He went on to get his Master’s of Science degree at the University of Connecticut (on the bats of Egypt) and his PhD at Texas Tech University (on chromosomes of gerbils and jirds).  He then did medical genetics training in Memphis, Tennessee, and served on the faculties of medicine at three U.S. universities (Tennessee, Duke, and Yale), before returning to Palestine in 2008.  Prof. Qumsiyeh has published over 130 scientific papers on topics ranging from systematics to biodiversity to cancer, plus hundreds of other refereed articles.  His books include Bats of Egypt, Mammals of the Holy Land, Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle (in English, Spanish, and German) and Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment (Arabic, English, French, forthcoming in Italian).

Currently Professor Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities.  In addition to directing the main clinical cytogenetic laboratory at Bethlehem University, he is the director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and the Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability.  He was chairman of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People, and served on the board of Al-Rowwad Children’s Theater Center in Aida Refugee Camp.  His main civic interests lie in media activism and public education.  Qumsiyeh has given hundreds of talks around the world, has published over 250 letters to the editor in publications such as Boston Globe, Time Magazine, and NY Times, and has been interviewed extensively on TV and radio (local, national, and international).  His book on human rights activism is published electronically on his website (

Since returning to Palestine 2008, Prof. Qumsiyeh has developed a system for working with and empowering young people, as he believes this is the key to freedom and development in Palestine.  He and his students were the first Palestinians to publish research on biodiversity in such groups as scorpions and amphibians, to demonstrate genetic impact on human health of Israeli industrial settlements, to study infertility among Palestinian males, to study cancer cytogenetic in Palestine, and on other topics.  Based on these studies and others, plus the work and ideas of dozens of young volunteers, the Palestine Museum of Natural History was launched in June 2014 with ambitious plans—described in our section on mission and goals.

It has not been an easy task to do this.  The Museum was started with land and building facility use from Bethlehem University and seed operating money from Dr. and Mrs. Qumsiyeh and from individuals.  In the transition period of 2014-2017, we rely heavily on volunteers and we welcome your support (see sections on staff and support).  We are working to apply for institutional fundings in order to bring on board much needed professional team members.

(Source / 07.07.2016)

Written by altahrir

July 7, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Posted in History, Uncategorized

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How the 2003 Iraq invasion devastated the country’s health service

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Iraqi doctors weighs a child at a Baghdad clinic

Thirteen years ago, American and British troops launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Iraqis were promised freedom from tyranny, but the subsequent destruction of the Iraqi state apparatus as well as the cycle of violence that continues to this day destroyed the health system that cared for the nation.

In 2003, the health service in Iraq was in a bad way following years of economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations. The sanctions contributed to the death of thousands of citizens from malnutrition and a lack of essential drugs.

This fragile, state-sponsored health service was severely damaged by the invasion. Around 7% of the hospitals were partly destroyed during the war, and 12% were looted in the chaos that followed. Many health care facilities were taken over for military use during the conflict.

No plan to rebuild what they’d destroyed

Neither the Americans nor the British had any plans for the healthcare system. Despite a promised aid package of $18.4 billion to rebuild Iraq, only a few small contracts were awarded to private contractors. The World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and local Iraqi experts were not consulted. The main aim of these contracts was to train the ministry of health staff on public health planning and health policy development since the majority of the experienced staff were made redundant as part of the American policy to rid the government institutions of people likely to be loyal to the previous regime.

Iraq, to this day, has no comprehensive health policy. Contrast this with the Iraqi health service of the 1970s and 80s which was one of the most advanced in the Middle East.

Today, most of the country’s 1,717 primary healthcare centres have no running water or electricity, and the 197 hospitals don’t have enough equipment or expertise to deal with the needs of a nation confronting ever increasing violence and terrorism.

After the handover of the power from the US-led coalition forces to the first Iraqi government, it was reported that 40% of the 900 essential drugs were out of stock in hospitals. This happened at time when Iraq needed every little bit of help it could get to deal with its worst health crisis for decades. There was – and still is – a continuous surge in trauma-related hospital admissions caused by the violence in addition to an increase in the burden of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer (making up to 44% of the causes of mortality).

Last year, a WHO report revealed the dark reality of the state of health in Iraq with high mortality rates among children under the age of five as well as outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and polio, in a country where millions of people have no access to healthcare services.


The poor security conditions that continue to this day and the failure of the Anglo-American occupation forces to come up with a policy to protect the healthcare professionals led to an exodus, with nearly 75% of doctors, pharmacists and nurses leaving their jobs since 2003 with many departing to seek refuge in safer countries.

It is estimated that as few as 9,000 doctors and 15,000 nurses are serving nearly 28m Iraqis. This is nearly six doctors and 12 nurses for every 10,000 citizens. For a similar population in the UK, there are 23 doctors and 88 nurses that provide healthcare services. Dentists, pharmacists and healthcare managers are also in short supply.

There are almost no healthcare professionals in rural areas or to provide care for millions of internally displaced people. Also, training of healthcare workers was disrupted with medical and nursing schools struggling to remain open and many students facing security threats and no prospect of adequate training. The lack of provisions to train more healthcare professionals and the mass migration of trained staff exacerbated the shortage of experienced well-trained professionals to provide health service.

Any plan to rebuild the healthcare system in Iraq should aim to provide adequate protection for the people providing the service.

Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO

The state of the Iraqi health service and the future of its workforce can be summarised in the words of the WHO Director General, Margaret Chan: “The situation is bad, really bad, and rapidly getting worse.”

Iraq is facing a health and humanitarian crisis as the result of decades of war, occupation, violence and terrorism. Nearly 3m people are internally displaced, 6.9m Iraqis need immediate access to essential health services, and 7.1m need urgent access to clean water and sanitation. As the Chilcot Inquiry finally releases it report into the war, people in Iraq continue to suffer the results of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

(Source / 06.07.2016)

Written by altahrir

July 6, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Posted in Zorg / Health

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ISIS: The brainchild of Wahhabism

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ISIS Wahhabism 04e54

Like the Ikhwan before, ISIS represents a rebellion against the official Wahhabism of modern Saudi Arabia. And yet ironically its roots are firmly anchored in Wahhabism.

ISIS’ swords, covered faces and cut-throat executions all recall the original Brotherhood. But it is unlikely that the ISIS hordes consist entirely of diehard jihadists. A substantial number are probably secularists who resent the status quo in Iraq – Baathists from Saddam Hussein’s regime and former soldiers of his disbanded army.

This would actually explain ISIS’s strong performance against professional military forces. In all likelihood, few of the young recruits are motivated either by Wahhabism or by more traditional Muslim ideals. In 2008, MI5’s behavioural science unit noted that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could be regarded as religious novices.”

A significant proportion of those convicted of terrorism offences since the 9/11 attacks have been non-observant, or are self-taught. Misguided or disguised ISIS militants are certainly not looking for religious enlightenment; rather they have been sold to a violence which speaks to their own pain and sense of loss.

Two wannabe jihadists who set out from Birmingham for Syria in May 2014 had ordered Islam for Dummies from Amazon. ISIS militants are no Muslim devouts, only sociopathic begots.

It would be a mistake to see ISIS as a throwback; it is a thoroughly modern movement which has drawn its inspiration from the Ikhwan crusades. It has become an efficient, self-financing business with assets estimated at $2bn. Its looting, theft of gold bullion from banks, kidnapping, siphoning of oil in the conquered territories and extortion have made it the wealthiest jihadist group in the world. There is nothing random or irrational about ISIS violence. The execution videos are carefully and strategically planned to inspire terror, deter dissent and sow chaos in the greater population.

ISIS is not just a terror army, it is a terror movement with imperialistic ambitions. And if its methods are terrifying and bloody, they are hardly an innovation. There too ISIS drew from past examples – Mass killing is after all a thoroughly modern phenomenon, one which western powers gave into many times over.

During the French Revolution, which led to the emergence of the first secular state in Europe, the Jacobins publicly beheaded about 17,000 men, women and children. In the 1990s, Armenia slaughtered hundreds upon hundreds of Azeris in a grand scale flash ethnic cleansing campaign.

Similarly, ISIS uses violence to achieve a single, limited and clearly defined objective that would be impossible without such slaughter. As such, it is another expression of the dark side of modernity – industrial killing to achieve politico-strategic goals.

Above all, ISIS wants rebuild the caliphate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Turkey declared null and void in 1925.

The caliphate had long been a dead letter politically, but because it symbolised the unity of the ummah and its link with the Prophet, Sunni Muslims mourned its loss as a spiritual and cultural trauma. Yet ISIS’s projected caliphate has no support among ulema internationally and is derided throughout the Muslim world.

That said, the limitations of the nation state are becoming increasingly apparent in our world; this is especially true in the Middle East, which has no tradition of nationalism, and where the frontiers drawn by invaders were so arbitrary that it was well nigh impossible to create a truly national spirit. Here, too, ISIS is not simply harking back to a bygone age but is, however eccentrically, enunciating a modern concern.

The liberal-democratic nation state developed in Europe in part to serve the Industrial Revolution, which made the ideals of the Enlightenment no longer noble aspirations but practical necessities. It is not ideal: its Achilles heel has always been an inability to tolerate ethnic minorities – a failing responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. In other parts of the world where modernisation has developed differently, other polities may be more appropriate. So the liberal state is not an inevitable consequence of modernity; the attempt to produce democracy in Iraq using the colo­nial methods of invasion, subjugation and occupation could only result in an unnatural birth – and so ISIS emerged from the resulting mayhem.

ISIS has declared war against all — Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Yazidis — there is no escaping this reactionary band of Godless criminals and murderers.

Interestingly, Saudi Arabia has now become the designated target of ISIS militants. As if playing out a Greek tragedy, ISIS seeks now to strike at its creator, intent on pushing the boundary of the acceptable to reinvent itself not a religion but a radical atheist movement which stands in negation of the Holy, in all its forms and all its manifestations.
It was ibn Abdul Wahhab who declared it incumbent upon his followers to wage “Jihad” against all the Muslims, and that it was permitted for them to enslave their women and children. ISIS clearly heard its father’s calling.

This approach was derived from the influence of Ibn Taymiyyah, who remains to this day an important influence guiding the principles of Islamic terrorism. It is strange that, of all the Muslim scholars throughout history that he could have chosen from, that Wahhab, and all modern Muslim “reformers” after him, emphasize the importance of Ibn Taymiyyah, whose orthodoxy was questionable, and who in his own time was repeatedly in conflict with the leading scholars and the ruling establishment.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

Written by altahrir

June 26, 2016 at 8:42 pm

Posted in History

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