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[casi] Re mass murder

Dear Gaz and Diarmuidfogarty (sorry I don't know your name)

Dear Gaz,
My point was that we shouldn't concentrate on the state of Iraqi hospitals
pre or post the Gulf War as a health issue (indeed, hospitals only deal with
illness), but to recognise that it is the effect of sanctions which causes
ill health in Iraq, and part of the effect of those sanctions is because Iraq
can't import goods to repair the war damage (as you describe in your reply).
It is the effect of sanctions, not the poor hospitals, which is causing
illness and death in Iraq.
Relating Gaz's comment re the value of lives of elderly people.  Elderly
people do not generally require expensive hospital treatment in order to
enjoy old age.  Factors which extend life include a good diet, a balanced
lifestyle, freedom from stress, a balanced environment, etc., none of which
are readily available in Iraq due to sanctions. Elderly people do not have
expensive surgery in the West on a frequent basis; for example, my mother
(nearly 80) has six older brothers and sisters, three still surviving, but
none of the six have ever been admitted to hospital for surgery or expensive
treatment, because it was not necessary, and all have lived to be over 80.
In UK, frail elderly people are more likely to need assistance with personal
care, for example, washing, dressing, taking to the toilet, etc, and they
tend to be admitted to hospital when their carers are unable to cope with
these problems for a variety of reasons.
I did make the point that having an operation benefits the individual and
his/her family, but overall this expensive treatment makes little difference
to mortality statistics.   My argument is remove sanctions, and Iraqi people
will stop dying in their hundreds of thousands.  Improve Iraqi hospitals, and
Iraqis will still die at the same rate until sanctions are removed. For
example, a few people may be saved from appendicitis, but they are still at
risk of cholera and other water-borne disease.
In not only my view but also in the view of a variety of people who have
investigated health care systems world wide, the East, in the West, in the
developed world, in the undeveloped world, hospitals are overrated and have
little to do with either health or prolonging overall expectation of life,
and they are extraordinarily expensive. As a health worker myself, I also
think that we are overrated too, to address Gaz's point of training doctors
and nurses, our hospital-based training mostly teaches us how to treat
disease, rather than how to attain health.  Unfortunately, the developing
world saw our very imperfect hospitalised model of "disease care" (no country
in the world has health care) and copied it, overlooking  their chance to
develop a different and better health care system, for example, the Primary
Health Care model as described at Alma Ata, which does incidentally include a
small curative care component, but the emphasis is on improving health.
Although some countries claim to have introduced PHC, it is a fallacy, what
they have introduced is a few PHC ideas interposed onto the same old medical
model which has failed us for so long, proving both expensive,
unsatisfactory, and inequitable. The difficulty is that there are too many
players who want to maintain expensive Western style health care systems,
such as pharmaceutical companies, health care companies, doctors, and of
course patients who feel comforted with a visible health care provision. Once
again, the ordinary public is wrongly influenced and misled by the  interests
of wealthy multinational companies. The influence of health internationals is
so strong that very few politicians in the world dare to challenge it,
dictator or democracy. If we health workers were all better trained in
preventative care and how to attain health and concentrated on that, in rich
and poor countries, and in  Iraq, we would live longer and better.  So please
don't think that you need hospitals, doctors, or nurses, to attain health.
I'm sure the average garbage  worker in UK prevents more illness and saves
more lives than any doctor or nurse, in UK or Iraq or elsewhere.  Better
sanitation in Iraq would also save many lives; you can't achieve it - because
of sanctions.  These are part of the humanitarian reasons why I think all
health workers should fight to have sanctions removed in Iraq.
I do incidentally agree with the sentiments of an earlier contribution to
this discussion, that various American governments have caused a lot more
illness and deaths in the world than the Ba'ath regime.  That does not mean
that I support Saddam Hussein.  It means that I am against violence, and I
have seen through America's pretence of being a force for "good".

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