DAMASCUS, July 28 (KUNA) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed
"deep concern" Sunday over the deterioration of security in Iraq that led to
the displacement of more than four million Iraqis both at home and to the
WHO's Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Hussein Al-Gezairy
was addressing a ministerial gathering in Damascus on the health needs of
Iraqis in neighboring countries, adding that despite persistent efforts by the
Iraqi government and other concerned parties, the situation in Iraq still
inspired worry and fears at the regional and international levels.
The Damascus conference that opened today is attended by ministers of
health of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria, as well many international
More than a million Iraqis were displaced at home while other 2.2 million
had to leave to Syria, Jordan and other neighbors, he said, noting that the
process was on the rise as an estimated 60,000 Iraqi fled the country monthly.
He said that the host countries would not be able to carry on with the
health services they offered to the refugees who are gradually increasing.
The dilemma, according to the WHO regional director, was not only the huge
numbers of refugees or the USD one billion needed annually to cover the
services they received at the host countries, but it lied in the fact that the
refugees included the professional Iraqis, which hits the national
One of the aims of the Damascus WHO event is to discuss the present
challenges facing the Iraqi health sector.
On their part, representatives of WHO and United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) stressed the necessity of developing coordination
mechanisms for providing health and medical care to the Iraqi refugees besides
aid to the host countries. They said that Syria and Jordan shouldered most of
The two-day conference discusses means to ensure delivery of health care to
more than two million Iraqis estimated to reside in Syria, Jordan and Egypt
following the insecurity in Iraq.(end)
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