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Professor Richard Garfield, an epidemiologist at Columbia University and a specialist on the health effects of sanctions, has written the following letter to the New York Times regarding UNICEF's "Child and Maternal Mortality Survey". Since there's no assurance the Times will publish, I've gotten Dr. Garfield's permission to circulate independently. In addition, several additional comments from Dr. Garfield are noted below. <Dr. Garfield's Letter to the Editor of the New York Times> 8/13/99 Letters to the Editor The New York Times 229 West 43rd Street NY NY 10036 To the Editor: The State Department claims that lower child mortality in Iraqi Kurdistan is proof that problems are caused by Saddam Hussein, not sanctions [Children's Death Rates Rising in Iraqi Lands...8/13/99, page A6]. But the embargo in the North is not the "same embargo" as they claim. The North enjoys porous borders with Turkey, Syria, and Iran, and thus is effectively less embargoed than the rest of the country. It benefits from the aid of 34 Non-Government Organizations, while in the whole rest of the country there are only 11. It receives 22% more per capita from the Oil for Food program, and gets about 10% of all UN-controlled assistance in currency, while the rest of the country receives only commodities. Food, medicine, and water pumps are now helping reduce mortality throughout Iraq, but the pumps do less for sanitation where authorities cannot buy sand, hire day laborers, or find many other minor inputs to make filtration plants work. Goods have been approved by the UN and distributed to the North far faster than in the Center or South. The UN Security Council treats people in that part of the country like innocents. Close to 20 million civilians in the Center and South of the country deserve the same treatment. Spokesman James P. Rubin said that "We can't solve a problem that is the result of tyrannical behavior." He probably was referring to Saddam Hussein. As one involved in providing assistance throughout Iraq, I must admit that the arbitrary, ineffective, or destructive control sometimes exercised by the Security Council over Iraqi funds for food and medicine seem no less tyrannical. A good faith effort to meet basic needs in Iraq would create a better basis to negotiate an end to the Iraq conflict. Instead, every problem is blamed on Saddam. This politicization of the Oil for Food program only delays and weakens our ability to address the urgent humanitarian needs created by this most comprehensive embargo of the 20th century. Sincerely, Richard Garfield Professor Columbia University 617 West 168th Street New York, NY 10032 <End of letter> In phone conversation, Dr. Garfield said that the UNICEF survey was methodologically sound and that its results (based upon the first large-scale field data collected since 1991) made his purposefully conservative analysis of historical mortality data 'look extremely, *extremely* conservative.' Based on the survey, UNICEF's Executive Director notes "if the substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under-five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998." I asked Dr. Garfield about this assumption -- that is, is it safe to assume a relatively linear rate of decline in child mortality through the 90's? He replied that, yes, it's probably the best estimate available and may, in fact, be conservative given that the rate of mortality decline had been increasing just before sanctions began. Thanks again to Dr. Garfield for sharing this information. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, Minnesota USA  http://www.unicef.org/reseval/iraq.htm  http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/info/garfield/Dr-Garfield.html -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***