Broken-down Poetry: On health care in Iraq


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Saturday, August 14, 2010

On health care in Iraq

Health care - or "Obamacare" - is still a buzz word around here. Though having been out of the country for two months, and completely shutting myself off from American politics, I knew that the tension of the healthcare reform would continue whether I was paying attention or not.

I don't want to talk about the U.S.'s health care issues. At this point I'm ready to throw up my hands and say, qué será será. What will be, will be.

But I want to talk about Iraq's health care issues because they're bigger, and more dire, but there are people out there trying to take care of those problems.

I've blogged before about Dr. Aso Faiq, the only pediatric cardiologist in Kurdistan. I've told you that he can't go to Europe for training because he cannot be approved for a visa, even a 4-day one. I also learned that though Iraq lacks pediatric cardiologists, there are adult cardiologists in the country. But the causes of heart disease in Iraq are not the same as they are in America (high blood pressure, obesity, inactivity). To be blunt, the kids born with congenital (in utero) heart disease die before they can see an adult cardiologist.

So ... this is where we're at.

Thousands of children in line for heart surgery - surgeries they cannot receive in-country because doctors don't have the training. This is why organizations like Preemptive Love exist, to "eradicate the backlog of Kurdish and Arab children in line for lifesaving heart surgery."

Some die without getting their hearts checked out.


I'm excited: this week the International Children's Heart Foundation is traveling to Sulaimaniah, Iraq to perform 30 heart surgeries and train local doctors. This Remedy Mission is one step toward getting those thousands of kids into surgery in-country; no longer will sick kids have to cross borders for heart surgeries.

Preemptive Love still needs more money to bring the team in to perform heart surgeries and train doctors. We're close, but not quite there.

To put this into perspective: Preemptive Love sends about 20 kids to heart surgery in a year. Remedy Mission will do 1.5x as much as PLC alone can do in one year.

Your donations will help improve health care in Iraq.
And save 30 kids' lives!


* photo by, of course, the wonderful Lydia Bullock

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