'The Americans cannot provide security we need'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The children lie on their hospital beds. A few cry, others just stare ahead. Their parents huddle around, trying to provide comfort.

The children lie on their hospital beds. A few cry, others just stare ahead. Their parents huddle around, trying to provide comfort.

These are not victims of the war, but of an alarming rise in disease and a shattered health system.

The hospital used to be called Saddam Children's. It has been renamed Central Children's, but the new name cannot hide old problems. The shortage of some vital drugs and equipment is worse than in the days of UN sanctions.

"The problem of supply is particularly acute in areas like chemotherapy, IV fluids, even antibiotics. It is also worse than before the war when it comes to lab facilities," said Dr Ali Hussein, the chief resident.

"We have seen a big rise in admissions. A lot of them are from an increase in the rate of infections, mainly of waterborne diseases ... The big problem is that the Americans cannot provide security, and that affects medical supplies."

Zeena Alla is seven weeks old and about the size of an A4 notebook. She is suffering from an acute gastro-enteritis related illness. Her mother Shirin, 25, says: "They have given her medicine, but she is so small, I just don't know what will happen. I am sick with worry, all I can do is pray all the time".

Abdurrahman Bassim, five, has leukaemia. Dr Hafiz Jaleel Hussein said that there were not enough chemotherapy drugs. "He will probably have to go on a deficient course, and that reduces his chances of living."

Comments