A+ A-

Syria hosts conf. on health needs of Iraqis in neighboring countries

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 neighboring countries.
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 organizations.
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 capabilities.
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 burden.
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) om.msa KUNA 291707 Jul 07NNNN