Suffer the Children

According to a report by aid agency Save the Children, “Iraq’s child mortality rate has increased by a staggering 150 per cent since 1990, more than any other country.”

The report said that some 122,000 Iraqi children - the equivalent of one in eight - died in 2005, before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of the deaths were among newborn babies in their first month of life.

“Since 2003, electricity shortages, insufficient clean water, deteriorating health services and soaring inflation have worsened already difficult living conditions.”

The study listed pneumonia and diarrhoea as major killers of children in Iraq, together accounting for over 30 per cent of child deaths.

“Conservative estimates place increases in infant mortality following the 2003 invasion of Iraq at 37 per cent,” it said.

Experts draw parallels between the dire state of Iraq’s health care system today and the way it was when the country was under sanctions during the 1990s, when there was a similar limited supply of drugs and other medical resources.

[Excerpt of article by Hind al-Safar, IWPR contributor in Baghdad]

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