An international conference on the reconstruction of Iraq is underway in Kuwait this week. Carla Brooijmans, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission for Iraq, gave the following statement after a meeting in Kuwait today of aid organizations responding to humanitarian needs in Iraq:
"The conflict in Iraq has taken a staggering toll on the health system. Following years of conflict and intense fighting, communities across the country are without access to vital health care. Many health facilities lie under piles of rubble. There are often gaps in the availability of drugs and medical equipment. Many health workers remain without pay.
"There is a real need to rebuild health infrastructure in Iraq, but it's also vital to address the current humanitarian and acute medical needs of those who are still caught in or displaced by conflict. Ongoing humanitarian assistance is urgently needed across Iraq, including for tens of thousands of people who remain displaced and unable to return to their homes."
MSF currently works across Iraq in the governorates of Erbil, Diyala, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Salaheddin, Anbar, and Baghdad. MSF offers neutral and impartial medical assistance regardless of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. To ensure its independence, MSF does not accept funding from any government or international agency for its programs in Iraq, relying solely on private donations from the general public around the world to carry out its work.