Guidance Centres for Iraqi Patients Coming to Iran for Treatment
The Lady Fâtemah (a.s.) Charitable TrustSeptember Lodge, Village Way, Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, HP7 9PU December 2007
Since the toppling of Saddam’s regime in 2003, the situation in Iraq has continued to deteriorate due to lack of security. Sectarian strife and terrorist and criminal activities make it difficult to govern the country and prevent reconstruction. The medical sector has been especially affected. Medical infrastructure and equipment, already badly affected by Saddam Hussein’s misgovernment and international sanctions during the final period of his reign, was hard-hit by extensive looting after the Baathist regime was toppled. Physicians and specialists have been subject to threats and attacks by terrorists. According to a report recently published by the British medical watchdog agency Medact, of 34,000 Iraqi physicians registered before the 2003 war, 18,000 have left the country, 2,000 have been murdered and 250 kidnapped. This leaves Iraq with a mere 13,750 physicians, most of them with an inferior level of training and without access to current developments in medicine, for a population of more than 26 million, that is one physician for every 1,890 Iraqis. The situation is even worse when it comes to specialist care.
Cancer cases are soaring all over Iraq due to pollution with Depleted Uranium (DU). In the whole south of Iraq, there is only one oncologist (cancer specialist) left, who practices in the city of Hilleh. As there are no facilities for radiotherapy and only very limited ones for chemotherapy, this physician mainly diagnoses cancer cases and advises the patients and their families to go to Iran for treatment. An estimated fifty per cent of patients coming to Iran for treatment are cancer patients. Other diseases that cannot be treated in Iraq at the moment due to lack of facilities and specialists include all heart diseases that need surgery of any kind, eye diseases requiring surgery or laser treatment, most forms of kidney disease, injuries requiring reconstructive surgery, disabilities and congenital conditions.
Iraqi patients who come to Iran face many problems: They do not know Farsi and are not acquainted with the medical system. They have trouble finding the right doctor. In order to find their way around they have to rely on translators from among the Iraqi refugee community whom they need to pay. Funds earmarked for treatment cost are spent on such side expenses. Many patients end up in private hospitals out of ignorance and face huge medical bills they are unable to pay while treatment would have been available at much lower cost.
More than financial assistance, Iraqi patients are in need of speedy and professional guidance. In November 2007, IRAC established two guidance centres for Iraqi patients in its offices in Qum and Ahwaz, the two major cities patients arrive at after crossing the border at Mehran or Shalamcheh border crossings. The centres are staffed by personnel with years of experience in guiding refugee patients to the most appropriate treatment centers and facilitating speedy access to treatment. All staff members are bi-lingual, and most are from a refugee background. Patients applying to the centers are guided to the appropriate hospitals or other treatment or diagnostic centers according to their need. IRAC staff members accompany them for translation where necessary. All services of the guidance centers are completely free of charge.
Unfortunately, the funding IRAC has at its disposal for this activity is extremely limited and is going to finish in February 2008 while the need for this service is becoming greater every day.The tables below show necessary equipment and repairs and their cost, as well as monthly running expenses of the centres:
You can see the tabel from this link:http://www.ladyfatemahtrust.org/inner.php?page=project_details&item_id=389
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Amirali G. Karim
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