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> FEBRUARY 1, 1999 3:18 PM > CONTACT: American Friends Service Committee http://www.afsc.org/ > > Report Finds Consequences Of Sanctions Fall Most Heavily On Children, > Families In Iraq; Quaker medical delegation cites UN sanction study > that > attributes 50,000 excess deaths in children under age 5 in 1997 alone. > > PHILADELPHIA - February 1 - A medical delegation sent to Iraq by the > American > Friends Service Committee found that eight years of sustained economic > sanctions have had their severest impact on families and children > there, > producing a generation of young people weakened by disease, isolated > from the > outside world and left "to feed on feelings of bitterness and > injustice." > > The delegation's report "Child and Maternal Health and Nutrition in > Iraq Under > the Sanctions" was released today following the group's visit to Iraq > in > November. The 20 -page document was drawn from reviews of UN reports, > discussions with UN officials both in New York and in Baghdad, and > interviews > with physicians, government officials, professionals and lay people in > Iraq. > The delegation consisted of four pediatricians and one social worker, > all of > whom have worked in international health programs. > > "The consequences of the sanctions fall most heavily on children," the > doctors > noted in their report. "While adults can endure long periods of > hardship and > privation, children's physiological immaturity and vulnerability > provide them > with less resistance. They are put at greater risk and are less likely > to > survive persistent shortages." > > Among its conclusions, the delegation cited chronic malnutrition as > the > primary factor underlying the increased levels of mortality in young > children. > The group also found that economic hardship and unemployment has had a > severe > impact on families, which in turn has led to increased school > absenteeism and > a growing population of "street children" begging and doing small > jobs. > > The team stated that the public debate about Iraq has been clouded by > political rhetoric which has obscured the humanitarian crisis. For > example, > the team cites American and UN public health experts who estimate that > more > than 50,000 excess deaths occurred in Iraqi children under the age of > 5 in > 1997 alone. > > "The purpose of this report is to direct public attention to the human > consequences of the sanctions, so that rather than assigning blame, we > can > acknowledge the magnitude of the problem and direct our energies to > dealing > with it," the doctors wrote. > > The medical delegation also found that the so-called intellectual > embargo > which among other things forbids the importation of medical journals > has cut > Iraqi health professionals off from recent scientific advances. This > has > seriously eroded the quality of health care in Iraq, the team said. > > The report includes six recommendations urging the UN to re-evaluate > the > impact of sanctions. The team cited high infant mortality rates, an > ailing > infrastructure needing repair in order to adequately generate > electricity, > purify water pump sewage and maintain the health care system to reduce > the > frequency of infection and disease related to malnutrition. Finally > the report > calls for an end to the isolation of Iraqi civilians, including health > professionals who have been cut off from the flow of scientific > information > and opportunities for training and continuing education. > > "It is essential that we reopen communication with our Iraqi > counterparts > working in health, education and child welfare," the team wrote. "The > rebuilding of Iraq's health and educational institutions will take > years, and > would benefit from long-term and well-established ties with > international > organizations." > > The delegation included the following children's health specialists: > > Nicholas Cunningham is Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Clinical > Public > Health at Columbia University School of Public Health; Attending > Pediatrician > and Director of Outpatient Pediatrics at the Babies Hospital Division > of the > Presbyterian Hospital of NY. > > Nan Dale is President/CEO of The Children's Village in NY. > > Leila Richards has organized humanitarian relief and health services > for > refugees and war victims around the world. > > Ramona Sunderwirth-Bailly is Director of Pediatric Emergency Services > and co- > director of the Child Advocacy Team at Bronx Lebanon Hospital; > Assistant > Professor at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. > > Joe Wray is Emeritus Professor at the Center for Population and Family > Health, > School of Public Health, Columbia University. > > For printed copies of the report, contact Jason Erb, AFSC Program > Assistant > for Iraq at 215 241-6985. > > There are also two on-line versions of the report: > > Child and Maternal Health and Nutrition in Iraq under the Sanctions, > Executive > Summary (8 KB). > http://www.afsc.org/iraq/docssum.htm > > Child and Maternal Health and Nutrition in Iraq under the Sanctions, > Full > report (85 KB). > http://www.afsc.org/iraq/docsfull.htm > > ### > > The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization which > includes > people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace > and > humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of > every > person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and > injustice. > > -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html