Iraq: WHO experts set to study reported rise in non-communicable diseases

Iraq: WHO experts set to study reported rise in non-communicable diseases

A team from the World Health Organization (WHO) is set to visit Iraq to finalize proposals for studies on non-communicable diseases and congenital malformations, the United Nations agency said today.

The five-day mission next week to Baghdad will also draw up a schedule for implementation of the research, which will look into claimed increases in those diseases in Iraq, and investigate their potential link to environmental and other risk factors.

WHO's eight-member team includes experts in cancer epidemiology and other non-communicable diseases, congenital malformations, as well as occupational and environmental health. These staff members are based at WHO's Geneva headquarters and its Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean in Cairo.

The non-communicable diseases of interest for study are primarily cancer and renal disease.

A joint meeting of Iraqi scientists and WHO experts last April agreed to a framework for intensified technical and scientific cooperation. Further discussions took place between senior WHO staff and Iraqi representatives from the Ministry of Health during the 54th World Health Assembly in May. A month later Iraq's Senior Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Zuhair S. Al-Azawi, invited WHO to visit the country.

In addition to other visits and contacts, WHO sent missions to Iraq in 1995, 1998, 2000 and earlier this year. Those missions focused on strengthening the national cancer registry, examining cancer rates, including leukaemia, stepping up cancer control and activities to control other non-communicable diseases.