Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kurdistan Region and the WHO dealing with cholera outbreak

Azzaman and Al-Hayat agree on basic coverage of the cholera outbreak in Sulaymania and Kirkuk, citing statements by Kurdistan Region health minister Ziryan Othman in a joint press conference with Naema al-Saghri, a delegate of the World Health Organization, and a local health official in Sulaymania. They reported five deaths in Sulaymania attributed to cholera, apparently since Sunday of last week, and another 2000 cases of the severe diarrhia and vomiting that are major symptoms of the disease, although not all of those are confirmed cases of cholera. Those who have succumbed so far have been mostly older people who couldn't tolerate the loss of body-fluids. There are also six reported cases in Kirkuk and they expressed concern about possible spread of the disease particularly in rural areas in northern Iraq. They said all the cases are being treated as cholera. The WHO delegate spoke about differences of temperature and inadequate hygiene as contributing factors, and stressed that the proper medical procedures are being followed to track down causes and combat the spread of the disease.

Azzaman notes that this is being handled autonomously by the regional government health ministry, given the fact that the central government health ministry is vacant, the prior Sadrist minister not yet having been replaced by Maliki. (Azzaman says the prior Sadrist minister fled to the United States, and his deputy is charged with assisting death squads). And the journalist adds that the volatile security situation in Kirkuk is reflected in the level of health services there.


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