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[casi] Medical Journals to Iraq (fwd)

Dear list members,

Here's some information from Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar in Baghdad about a project
regarding medical journals in Iraq which might be of interest.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 21:37:57 +0300
From: Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar <>
To: Seb Wills <>
Subject: Medical Journals to Iraq

Dear Seb

I am taking the liberty to send you a copy of a letter I am send to
doctors I meet in Baghdad. I hope some CASI members could take an active
part in this project. I am sure that the knowledge that "scientific"
sanctions could shock some members. I leave it to your judgment if this
subject is to be put to the list.

Best regards


Dear Dr.

Further to the discussion we had in Baghdad concerning the "scientific and
cultural sanctions", which is imposed on the medical doctors in Iraq, I
would like to make the following observations:

1-     Iraqi doctors who are members of medical societies in the UK, for example, have not received 
their copies of the medical journals since 1991 even if they have paid their dues to these 

2-     Similarly Medical college libraries have not received their copies either. They can not 
renew their subscription because of the “postal restriction” imposed on Iraq. I am told that 
professional societies need a very restrictive “license to communicate”, if given, with Iraqi 
colleges. The above two resulted in libraries with no new medical journals. This 12 to 13 years 
“gulf of knowledge” has affected the quality of medical care and medical education in Iraq.

3-     In an effort to bridge this gap I have taken a personal initiative to discuss the situation 
with Mr. Francis Dubois, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program 
(UNDP) in Baghdad. The UNDP have agreed to help in assisting us. The attached is my report of my 
visit to UNDP and Mr. Dubois reply to it.

4-     After several meetings with the deans of medical schools and Mr. Dubois it was clear that 
the best way to bridge the gap is by creating the “electronic medical journal library”. Filling the 
empty journal shelves of the libraries with printed version of the missing journals would be next 
to impossible due to the weight and volume. On the other hand medical journals on a CD format are 
small, compact and light weight and can easily sent to Baghdad.

5-     The University of Al-Mustanseria medical college was selected to setup a pilot project. A 
preliminary survey indicated that the college has the majority of the hardware (computers) which we 
could build on to create a college wide medical journal network

6-     I would appreciate if you can help with assisting us in obtaining copies of the medical 
journals in CD format to be incorporated into the library. I am sure you might know doctors who 
have their personal CD copies of medical journals that they no longer use because of the internet. 
One would hope they can donate these extra copies to help their colleagues over come this 
scientific isolation.

7-     By providing the doctors with the right "computer" content these doctors will use the 
computers more which will help them to become more computer literate. An added benefit.

8-     UNDP undertook to let us use their postal address in New York to transport the CD's and 
books to Baghdad without going through the postal restrictions.

I am sure many of your colleagues are not aware of this scientific sanctions and do not approve of 
it. I hope that their objection to it could be translated into some thing useful.

I am will be very happy to answer any question you might have.

Best regards,

Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar

Baghdad, Iraq

Contents of attached report:


On Wednesday 9 July 2002 I had a personal meeting with Mr. Francis Dubois
the Resident Representative of the UNDP office in Baghdad. I raised the
problems of medical schools suffering from the lack of the medical Journals
necessary for proper medical education and research. I pointed out that the
sanctions since 1991 have deprived medical libraries of the medical
journals. I pointed out that in order to overcome the 10-12 years shortage
of the journals an effort should be made to bridge this gap by providing
the medical libraries with the back issues of these journals in a CD

Mr. Dubois was very interested in the idea and informed me that the UNDP
will assist in this "project" and will very favorably consider any proposal
submitted by the Iraqi side. Mr. Dubois introduced me to Mr. Rami Al-
Baroudi the director of the UNDP Learning Resource Center where a much more
through discussion was carried out.

I have suggested to Mr. Baroudi three alternative ways to achieve these

1- The UNDP will provide copies of CD's containing the back issues of the
medical journals and distribute them to the medical colleges. The UNDP will
cover the cost of the purchase and duplications. The UNDP will assist in
the training on the use of the databases. The Iraqi side will provide the
UNDP with a list of the journals.

2- The UNDP establish a "Electronic Journal Library Center" (EJLC) at each
medical college. The EJLC will have a "central computer" to store most of
the journals and be connected to several users' terminals. Access to the
journals from terminals will minimize the physical handle and changing of
the CD's. The UNDP will provide the necessary computers and associated
hardware for the center. The UNDP will assist in the training of doctors
and researchers on the use of computers and databases. The Iraqi side will
provide to the UNDP the list of journals to be included as well as
providing the appropriate space for setting up the center and the training

3- Each Teaching hospital will be provided with a computer dedicated for
the electronic journals. Journals of interest to the doctors at each
hospital will be installed on the computer. The UNDP will provide the
computers and software and will assist in the training.

The response that I got from Mr. Baroudi is that each of these proposals is
within the capability of the UNDP and that they welcome any cooperation
with the Iraqi side. On the subject of training Mr. Baroudi informed me
that such training could take place at their training center or at a
properly equipped center at the relevant ministry or college.

This report is my personal recollection of the discussion and may or may
not reflect the official views of the UNDP. This report is presented to
probably lay the foundation for the project and to facilitate the exchange
of ideas between the two sides. It is in no way a complete proposal. It has
to be discussed and amended to best fit the needs of the two parties.

I am in no way affiliated with the UNDP or any other party. It is my belief
that the project is a step forward in breaking the scientific sanctions.

Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar

Tel: 717 1234



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