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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Baghdad M.D. asks Japan to aid Iraq's hospitals


Staff writer

Hospitals in Iraq, which lack medicine and cannot provide sufficient treatment to patients, need aid from Japan, an Iraqi doctor said Friday.

News photo
Iraqi doctor Waqar Abdul Qahar (center) holds a news conference Friday night in Tokyo.

Many of Iraq's some 170 hospitals were damaged by the war, and medicine and equipment was stolen during the subsequent looting, said Waqar Abdul Qahar, a professor of epidemiology at a university in Baghdad.

"We are in shortage in everything, in medications and equipment," Qahar said during a news conference Friday, requesting more medical assistance from the government and private sector in Japan.

Qahar, in Japan to give lectures on the situation in Iraq, declined to name her university because people with connections to other countries have been targeted by the insurgency.

As an example of the lack of medicine and equipment, the 53-year-old doctor cited the situation at a Baghdad hospital where her brother recently died after a heart attack.

"When we brought him to the hospital, there was no thermometer, no sphygmomanometer for the blood pressure, no medication and the staff were untrained," she said, adding that his life could have been saved had he received proper treatment.

A number of doctors were killed during the war, Qahar said, so Japan can help by providing training for doctors and nurses.

Qahar and an Iraqi youth named Fadi Sami were invited to Japan by the nongovernmental organization Peace Boat.

Sami, who assists the NGO in providing aid to Iraq, said his aunt is among the civilians who have been killed.



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