Sunday, March 02, 2008

Another Delivery

I got confirmation February 26th that the most recent shipment was received at the hospital OK. The shipment included the following:

1. Doxorubicin 50 mg vials : 51 vials
2. Carboplatin 450 mg vials : 10 vials

An intensive effort by the supplier to upgrade packaging procedures was effective, based on photos of the shipment and it's preparation, and all the vials arrived intact.

In addition to the chemotherapy drugs, the supplier also sent a separate shipment containing some samples of broad spectrum antibiotics intended to combat infections in patients with immune systems compromised by chemotherapy. They have indicated a willingness to provide additional supplies if the hospital finds the samples effective. The antibiotics arrived at Mosul Airport without advance notice a few days after the chemo drugs, and it was not possible to transfer them to the hospital at the same time as the chemo drugs.

Another shipment of chemo drugs has been ordered and will hopefully reach the hospital in March.

This project has been delivering chemotherapy drugs to Mosul Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Hospital on a more or less regular basis since August 2005. Regrettably, I have never managed to attract major funding or support for the project. The shipments are funded mainly out of my own pocket, and my resources are not sufficient to do more than demonstrate that delivery of shipments is possible.

I can never hope to provide enough supplies to resolve the severe shortages afflicting the hospital. Little evidence has materialized to indicate that the Iraqi Ministry of Health and it's purchasing arm, "Kimadia", can be soon expected to properly provide adequate supplies to Mosul's hospitals or to any of Iraq's hospitals.

The inevitable result is that people are dying who would not die if the Ministry of Health and Kimadia did their job and supplied Iraq's hospitals properly and effectively. The shortages of necessary supplies at Iraq's hospitals are lethal to the patients who depend of the Ministry of Health system for care, despite the best efforts of Iraq's doctors to deliver care in the face of continuous desperate shortages. I have no idea how many lost lives can be attributed to the failure of the Ministry of Health and Kimadia to properly supply Iraq's hospitals, but I believe the numbers must inevitably be huge, comparable to the number of lives lost to violence if not larger.

The outrageous supply shortages in Iraq's hospitals are not frequently mentioned in the news, but they exist with total certainty and they are nationwide. Every news report, however brief and however un-noticed, attests to their severity. Nothing is heard to indicate that the nationwide tragedy of neglect afflicting Iraq's hospitals is some mere figment. The plight of Iraq's hospitals is clear to anyone who has the interest to open their eyes and investigate.

I have tried to avoid speaking ill of Kimadia and the Ministry of Health, because I am a half a world away and I have no way of knowing with certainty exactly what is causing the shortages afflicting Iraq's hospitals. However, whatever the cause, and whoever is responsible, the shortages are real, and they are lethal to the patients of Iraq, and those responsible for supplying Iraq's hospitals have failed to do so. To keep silent about the problem is no longer reasonable.


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