The World Health Organisation and the Iraqi Ministry of Health are set to begin work on a pilot assessment of congenital birth defects in six Iraqi governorates.
29 March 2012 - A project to examine the rates of congenital birth defects such as heart and neurological problems is due to start next month, following a series of planning meetings held during 2011. The survey will cover six of Iraq’s governorates including Baghdad, Anbar, Basrah, Thi Qar, Sulaymaniyah and Dialah.
Significant international concern has been generated over reports from medical staff in cities such as Fallujah and Baghdad of spiralling rates of congenital birth defects. Fallujah, which lies in Anbar province, has become particularly notorious and medical staff and civil society organisations have argued that the increases are linked to environmental contamination from the US led attacks on the city in 2004.
During a workshop on the project in February, Dr Hawrami Minister of Health of the Kurdistan Regional Government said: “There is a need for a comprehensive programme to learn more about birth defects in Iraq that could shed light on the incidence of various conditions, such as congenital heart defects and neurological defects, in different geographic areas over time in Iraq.”
The WHO in Iraq has reported that priority will be given in the survey to measuring the magnitude and trend of congenital birth defects at selected district level, identifying possible risk factors of congenital birth defects and assessing the burden of these conditions and impact on the health status of care providers. read more>>>