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Exodus of medical staff strains Iraq's health facilities

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39195.466713.DB (Published 26 April 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:865
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. Geneva

    The exodus of Iraqi doctors fleeing the escalating violence—including targeted threats, kidnappings, and murder of medical staff—is threatening the country's strained health infrastructure, say humanitarian relief experts.

    “Health facilities are stretched to the limit as they struggle to cope with daily emergencies caused by mass casualties,” said Angelo Gnaedinger, director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    Mr Gnaedinger told a recent conference in Geneva on the needs of refugees and internally displaced persons in Iraq and in neighbouring countries, “Patients and medical staff are threatened or targeted. As a result, medical personnel are fleeing the country in large numbers, leaving health facilities short of staff.”

    A report by the ICRC published this month on the situation of civilians in Iraq says, “According to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, more than half the doctors have left the country.”

    At the end of last year, 18 000 of the 34 000 doctors had left the country, according …

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