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[casi] Nutrition, Security and Public Health Items

Nutrition, Security and Public Health Items


Source: UNICEF, press release, "Iraq survey finds child health sliding", 14
May 2003,
* "acute malnutrition rates in children under five have nearly doubled since
a previous survey in February 2002."
* "The UNICEF rapid nutrition assessment was confined to Baghdad because of
general insecurity throughout the country. Nevertheless, it shows that 7.7
per cent of children under age five are suffering from acute malnutrition,
compared with last year’s figure of 4 per cent. Acute malnutrition signifies
that a child is actually wasting away."
* "UNICEF says that unsafe water from disrupted water services may be
playing a significant role in the findings. Poor water quality is largely to
blame for a rapid increase in cases of diarrhoea among children in recent
* According to the survey, more than 1 in 10 children were in need of
dehydration treatment.  UNICEF Health and Nutrition Officer Dr. Wisam
Al-Timini: "This suggests exactly what we know: Poor water and sanitation
leads to diarrhoea, and then to dehydration and malnutrition. These children
need treatment to stop their bodies from wasting because of an inability to
retain vitamins and nutrients from ordinary foods… Nearly three quarters of
the children surveyed in Baghdad in the assessment had at least one bout of
diarrhoea over the previous month…If we compare these results with earlier
findings, we note that children who have generally grown over the past few
years because of improved nutrition have suddenly and dramatically wasted.
This coincides with war and the breakdown of social services. It’s not
conclusive, but it suggests that the shift of children into the acutely
malnourished category is recent…Those severely malnourished who do not get
treatment are at very high risk of dying."
* UNICEF Representative in Iraq, Carel De Rooy: "We can assume that the
situation is as bad if not much worse in other urban centres throughout
Iraq…We knew going into the war that Iraqi children were poorly nourished.
These findings make clear that not enough is being done to turn the
situation around. Instead it has gotten worse."
* Read the entire press release for further relevant details and factors
(including the connection between them).


Source: UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, "Iraq: Weekly
Update 13 - 19 May 2003", 19 May 2003,
* "UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (HCI), Ramiro Lopes da Silva, held
talks with Ambassador Paul Bremer on 14 May. Mr Lopes da Silva stressed to
Ambassador Bremer the urgent need to establish law and order, the key
obstacle to humanitarian operations."
* "While the UN has been encouraged by the strongly stated commitment of
Ambassador Bremer to improving security, the situation fails to improve. The
burning of a Ministry of Trade warehouse in Baghdad, a shooting incident
outside the WFP warehouse in Kirkuk, the removal of a large generator at a
water plant, (a major logistical operation), two incidents involving
antipersonnel mines on the road to Baghdad airport, continued gunfire,
looting and criminality in several cities all highlight the pervasiveness of
the current insecurity. Poor security is having a dire effect on Iraqis,
anxious to get on with their lives after years of repression and war. Women
are particularly at risk, and have been largely confined to their homes in
larger cities. Armed gangs are running protection rackets in certain
districts of Baghdad.

First steps to re-establish the police force in Baghdad, Basrah and Kirkuk
this week are an important positive development, but it will take time
before they are fully functioning. Resourcing such forces, and their
training, will be critical if they are to be effective."

Public Health

Source: UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, "Iraq: Weekly
Update 13 - 19 May 2003", 19 May 2003,
* "Distribution systems have broken down, largely owing to lack of running
costs at the Ministry of Health and prevalent insecurity."
* There has been a "shortages of vaccines across the country, largely
attributable to the breakdown in the cold chain in recent weeks".
* "Public health programmes and disease control and surveillance have not
yet been fully re-established."

Nathaniel Hurd
Consultant on United Nations Iraq policy
Tel. (Mobile): 917-407-3389
Fax: 718-504-4224
777 United Nations Plaza
Suite 7A
New York, NY  10017

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