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Rehabilitation under fire

January 16, 2008


“Rehabilitation under fire” – New report describes failure to support Iraqi health services

The failure to protect or rebuild health services in Iraq since the 2003 invasion is highlighted in a new report published today by Medact (IPPNW-UK).
Rehabilitation under fire: health care in Iraq 2003-7 (Click to Download) describes how war and its aftermath continue to have a disastrous impact on the physical and mental health of the Iraqi people. It outlines the urgent measures needed to improve health and health services.

Researched and written by Iraqi, UK, and US health professionals and academics, the report focuses on the many failures of the occupying forces and their governments to protect health, or to help rebuild a health system based on primary health care principles. It assesses the current state of the health system: the impact of insecurity on the workforce and the chronic lack of supplies, medicines, and equipment. It contains a special focus on the neglected area of mental health care.

In particular, the report describes:
  • the failure to follow good practice in rehabilitation of health care services;
  • how powerful economic and political interests dominated health-related decisions;
  • the failure to respect the Geneva Conventions related to medical neutrality.

The report makes key recommendations including:

  • greater support for the World Health Organization in the region;
  • more space for Iraqis to determine which health system they need;
  • more flexible funding for initiatives to meet humanitarian needs.
Medact is an organization of health professionals highlighting the health consequences of war, poverty and environmental degradation and other major threats to global health ( It is an affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

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