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Iraq

 
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Iraq

Health

In the 1980s, almost all medical facilities continued to be controlled by the government, and most physicians were Ministry of Health officials. Curative and preventive services in the government-controlled hospitals and dispensaries and the services of government physicians were free of charge. The ministry included the directorates of health, preventive medicine, medical supplies, rural health services, and medical services. The inspector general of health, under the ministry, was charged with the enforcement of health laws and regulations. Private medical practice and private hospitals and clinics were subject to government supervision. In each province Ministry of Health functions were carried out by a chief medical officer who, before the war, frequently had a private practice to supplement his government salary. Provincial medical officers were occupied mainly with administrative duties in hospitals, clinics, and dispensaries. The work of medical officers in the rural areas before the war was seriously curtailed by lack of transportation.

One of the most serious problems facing the Ministry of Health in the prewar period was its shortage of trained personnel. The shortage was accentuated by the fact that most medical personnel tended to be concentrated in the major cities, such as Baghdad and Basra. Physicians trained at government expense were required to spend four years in the public health service, but they strongly resisted appointments to posts outside the cities and made every effort to return to Baghdad.

In 1983, the latest year for which statistics were available in early 1988, Baghdad Governorate, which had about 29 percent of the population, had nearly 37 percent of the country's hospital beds, 42 percent of the government clinics, and 38 percent of the paramedical personnel. The increasing number of clinics in the provinces, however, brought some rudimentary health care within reach of the rural population. At the same time, given the unsettled conditions in the Kurdish areas, it was likely that health care in the northern provinces had deteriorated since the start of the war.

Published information concerning sanitation and endemic diseases was scanty. Reportedly in the mid-1980s Iraq had a high incidence of trachoma, influenza, measles, whooping cough, and tuberculosis. Prior to the war, poor sanitation and polluted water sources were principal factors in the spread of disease. A large percentage of the population lived in villages and towns that have been along irrigation canals and rivers polluted with human and animal wastes. These waterways, along with the stagnant pools of water that sometimes constitute the village reservoir, were the major sources of drinking water and of water for bathing, laundering, and washing food. The periodic flooding of rivers contaminated water supplies and spread waterborne diseases.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their tributaries serve as water sources for Baghdad and some of the major provincial towns. Irbil and As Sulaymaniyah, located in the northern mountains, have adequate supplies of spring water. In Basra, Mosul, and Kirkuk the water is stored in elevated tanks and chemically treated before distribution. In Baghdad the water is filtered, chlorinated, and piped into homes or to communal fountains located throughout the city. In the smaller towns, however, the water supply is unprotected and is only rarely tested for potability.

Data as of May 1988

 

Iraq - TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Society and Its Environment

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GENERAL FACTS & LINKS

Country name
Iraq
conventional long form
Republic of Iraq
conventional short form
Iraq
local long form
Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
local short form
Al Iraq

Area -
total: 437,072 sq km
land: 432,162 sq km
water: 4,910 sq km

Geographic Location - Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

Map references - Middle East

Capital - Baghdad

Border Countries - Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 242 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 331 km

Major Cities - Baghdad

Independence -
3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday - Revolution Day, 17 July (1968)

ISD CODE
Iraq 964

Languages Spoken - Arabic (official) and Kurdish

Weather Forecast -  Baghdad  Mosul  Saddam Irq-Afb / Civ  Shaibah / Basrah

Major Airports - Baghdad

Ports - Umm Qasr, Khawr az Zubayr, and Al Basrah have limited functionality

Population -24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)

Religion - Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%

Nationality - Iraqi(s)

Currency - Iraqi dinar

Currency Code - IQD

National Bird - "Kew" (Chukar)

Lakes - Hammer

Rivers - Euphrates, Tigris

Terrain - Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

Climate - Mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq

Geography - Strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

Waterways - 1,015 km
note: Shatt al Arab is usually navigable by maritime traffic for about 130 km; channel has been dredged to 3 m and is in use; Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have navigable sections for shallow-draft boats; Shatt al Basrah canal was navigable by shallow-draft craft before closing in 1991 because of the Gulf war

Natural hazards - Dust storms, sandstorms, floods

Natural Resources - petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulphur


More Iraq related links from
1Up Info

 Iraq Country Facts

 Middle Eastern Political Geography

 Iraq Political Geography

 Middle Eastern Physical Geography

 Iraq Towns & Cities

 Iraq History


Iraq related links from
1Up Travel

 Iraq Country Guide

 Iraq Detailed Maps

 Iraq Flag

 More Iraqi Flags

 Iraq Geography

 Iraq Travel Warnings

 Iraq Cities Weather

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Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


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