Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another Shipment Reachs the Hospital

The hospital has confirmed that the first shipment of 2007 reached the hospital this week. The (planned) contents of this shipment were the same as the previous shipment:

- Doxorubicin 50 mg vial : 48 vials planned, 45 actually shipped and received

The confirmation was a bit later than expected and I spent a worried day or two hoping that my contact at the hospital had not become a victim of the endless chaos that afflicts Iraq. Fortunately the cause of the delay turned out to be only the "routine" outages of electricity coupled with the high cost of fuel which has put the local generator off line.

Correction: Although 48 vials was the planned quantity, 45 vials were actually shipped and received. The text above has been corrected accordingly.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Another shipment in the pipeline

Another shipment of chemotherapy drugs is well on the way and has in fact reached Mosul Airport where the hospital will pick it up in the near future. This shipment was the first funded entirely by others through Life for Relief and Development. My own contributions have necessarily been interrupted in the last couple months while I have been recovering from surgery and paying down my credit card balances.

The plight of Iraq's hospitals including the Mosul Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Hospital remains dire according to all available reports. Supplies, particularly chemotherapy drugs, by Kimadia (the Ministry of Health's purchasing agency) are sparse or nonexistent and unpredictable. A recent news report said a highly placed deputy in the Ministry of Health had been arrested on charges of misdirection of funds and other crimes - guilty or not, it seems his conduct was at best not above suspicion. In the last year I have corresponded with folks working at other hospitals and at with NGO's other than Life for Relief and Development and all never seen anything to indicate that the supply situation of Iraq's hospitals is anything but terrible everywhere.

Yet this project has managed to deliver shipment after shipment to the hospital in Mosul. This project began as a demonstration that shipments CAN be delivered despite all the problems and chaos and danger. Although the problems affecting delivery to other hospitals in other cities would of course be different, I think this project's success so far has in fact managed to demonstrate that.

I am an engineer and it's hard for me to believe that God (by whatever name) plays an active part in everyday affairs, but I know that many of the folks involved in this project feel that an unseen power is perhaps lending a hand or at least smiling as shipment after shipment reaches it's destination safely. I know participating in this project has made me feel good personally, and that others report the same.

I expect to resume my own contributions to the project next month and I hope others will contribute also. Until the Iraqi Ministry of Health can prove to the people of Iraq and the world that it can adequately supply the hospitals of Iraq, there will be a need for this project and I will support it to the extent to which I am able. I encourage others to do likewise.