Skip to main content

The dire and impoverished state of Iraq

In a "message" to the Iraqi PM in "The Human Narrative in Iraq Still Missing" on CommonDreams, the writer Claudia Lefko reveals some startling and sobering facts about present-day Iraq.

"The country statistics are dire across the boards. In terms of education, Iraq was a awarded a UNESCO prize for eradicating illiteracy in 1982. In March 2003, a UNESCO Fact Sheet stated: The education system in Iraq prior to 1991 was one of the best in the region, with over 100% gross enrollment rate for primary schooling, and a high level of literacy, both of men and women. The Higher Education, especially the scientific and technological institutions, were of an international standard, staffed by high qualification personnel. By 2004 Iraq's literacy rate was 74% (UNESCO) and by 2007 Education International estimated the rate had fallen to 65% (54% women and 74% men) This should come as no surprise. 84% of higher institutes of education and schools were damaged and/or destroyed in the two wars(UNESCO). Lots of parents kept children home out of fear for their safety; many children left school to earn money to help support their families. Those who attended classes often sat in building without running water or heat or adequate supplies including books. Books and supplies such as pencils could not be imported under the UN Sanctions. As a result, everyone in this once literate culture has fallen behind.

And, the medical system has been in crisis for decades. Iraq had one of the best health-care systems in the Middle East before 1990; a system of primary, secondary and tertiary care facilities that provided free, good quality services (WHO 2003). This changed dramatically after 1990. Like schools, many hospitals were damaged and/or destroyed in the years of violence. They were understaffed and undersupplied; doctors could not keep up with advances in the medical field. Iraq lost as many as 50% of its doctors. Some fled the country; others were assassinated.

Overall health--especially the health of children and other vulnerable groups--declined after 1990. The Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR) which UNICEF cites as--"…the single most significant indicator of the state of a nation's children…" increased dramatically, from 50 to 130 deaths per thousand live births in the decade 1990-2000. Over those ten years, children improved in 143 countries, with declines in only 17. The country whose children experienced the greatest decline was Iraq, where the figure for "improvement" was -160% (negative 160%). The next greatest decline - 74%, was in Botswana which at the time had the world's highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection. (UNICEF) It was a perfect storm for disaster: a population with deteriorating health and a collapsing medical system.

Iraq's infrastructure, including electrical and water purification systems and dams were damaged and in some cases destroyed by the bombing of the first Gulf War. More damage was inflicted in 2003, and much of this is not back to pre-war capacity. Buildings and roads, communications systems are waiting to be repaired and/or rebuilt. It is an unending process given the ongoing lack of security in the country."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Donald T: First seduced..... then betrayed!

All those supporters of Trump - who, heaven's only knows, got him headed for the White House - are in a for more than a rude awakening and shock.   Whatever Trump "promised" is just not going to happen....as Paul Krugman so clearly spells out in his latest op-ed piece "Seduced and Betrayed by Donald Trump" in The New York Times.

"Donald Trump won the Electoral College (though not the popular vote) on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Mr. Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University.

Yes, the white working class is about to be betrayed.

The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions. In particular, the most important story of the week — seriously, people, stop focusing on Trum…

Snooping..... at its worst

The Brits have just brought in legislation which allows for unprecedented "snooping" in a Western democracy - says Edward Snowden.   Let truthdig explain....

"On Tuesday, the United Kingdom instated the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, a piece of legislation described by whistleblower Edward Snowden as “the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy.”

The law, informally known as the “Snooper’s Charter,” spent over a year in Parliament before it was passed. The Guardian reported:

"The new surveillance law requires web and phone companies to store everyone’s web browsing histories for 12 months and give the police, security services and official agencies unprecedented access to the data.

It also provides the security services and police with new powers to hack into computers and phones and to collect communications data in bulk. The law requires judges to sign off police requests to view journalists’ call and web records, but the measure has been descri…

A "Muslim Register"

Outrageous is the word which immediately comes to mind - the idea of a  Muslim Register which Trump has floated.     And how and by or through whom would this Registry comes into being?    Let The Intercept explain.....

"Every American corporation, from the largest conglomerate to the smallest firm, should ask itself right now: Will we do business with the Trump administration to further its most extreme, draconian goals? Or will we resist?

This question is perhaps most important for the country’s tech companies, which are particularly valuable partners for a budding authoritarian. The Intercept contacted nine of the most prominent such firms, from Facebook to Booz Allen Hamilton, to ask if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry, an idea recently resurfaced by Donald Trump’s transition team. Only Twitter said no.

Shortly after the election, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wrote a personal letter to President-elect Trump in which she offered her congratulation…