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IMI's First Delegation to Iraq

Access to health related services remains difficult in conflict affected communities in Iraq and the Iraqi health care system is struggling to cope with the additional burden of internally displaced persons (IDPs). As stressed by the WHO 2009 Iraq Health Sector Needs Assessment, in order to facilitate the return of IDPs, conditions for reconciliation and return must be in place, and access to health services must improve. However, the living condition of the people of Iraq continues to deteriorate. In order to address these concerns, Imamia Medics International the IMI Iraq Initiative includes several components designed to serve the health needs of the Iraqi population and improve the national health system. The project was centered on an IMI Medical Humanitarian delegation of 52 individuals—mainly experts from the medical and allied fields--from the US, UK, Canada, India, Ireland, Pakistan and the UAE who visited several cities in Iraq, performing voluntary social and medical services, including complex procedures and trainings for colleagues and medical students in Iraq.

In addition to providing medical services, IMI delegates gained first-hand experience of the healthcare system and its challenges in Iraq. The humanitarian mission, therefore, also served as a fact-finding mission and laid a foundation for future projects in Iraq.

Complementing the medical service mission, the IMI Iraq Initiative involved the donation of medical equipment, instruments and goods exceeding one million USD in value, mainly through the efforts of Dr. Ali Reza Moosavi, to health clinics and programs in Iraq. In addition to pre-departure shipments of these goods, IMI delegates also took medical supplies with themselves, including valuable GI equipment donated by Riverside Medical Center through Dr. Saeed Bokhari, Dr. Qasim Jaffry and Dr Gulammehdi Sumar’s efforts. Small gifts were also taken for children living in poverty and/or at orphanages.

IMI delegates provided general and specialized care for hundreds of Iraqis over the duration of 2 weeks across various hospitals/clinics in Karbala, Najaf, Kufa and Hilla. IMI delegates also examined patients in orphanages.

In addition, instruction and support was also provided regarding hospital/clinic administration and patient management. Examples include the initial setup of a sleep lab at Kufa Medical College and the creation of hourly schedules involving issues of personal hygiene, exercise, menu selection and arts and crafts, for inpatient psychiatric care in Najaf.

Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures were performed by many delegates covering the fields of Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Dentistry, ENT, Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine, Maxillofacial Surgery, Neonatology, Nursing, Nutrition, Pathology, Pediatrics (General, Neurological, Infection Disease), Pharmacology, Pulmonology, Rheumatology and Urology.

The following are examples of some of the procedure performed by IMI delegates in Iraq:

  • Neonatal pediatric work in Kerbala and Neonatal care including newborn exam and rounds in Najaf.
  • EGD, Colonoscopy and ERCP in Najaf and Karbala as patients had presented with GERD, rectal bleeding, biliary stones, pancreatic cancer, cholangitis, choledocho-duodenal fistula and post-operative biliary leak.
  • Trans urethral bladder tumor resection for bladder tumor in Hilla
  • Rigid Ureteroscopy diagnostic and therapeutic for ureteric obstruction in Hilla and Kufa
  • Open pyelolithotomy in a child with large renal pelvic stone in Hilla
  • Exploration of Penis and Cavernotomy for post radiation Priapism(a very rare condition) in Hilla
  • Flexible ureteroscopy (introduced for the first time in Kufa) diagnostic for tumour in Kufa
  • Flexible cystoscopy (introduced for the first time in Kufa)
  • Specialized Thermafil aided endodontics on complex Upper Molar tooth was performed with three post graduates at the Najaf Specialist Dental Clinic.

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After many months of hard work following up from the IMI Iraq Initiative and years of thoughtful consideration, IMI officially formed a new chapter in Iraq in December 2009.

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IMI has been active in Pakistan since 1994. Despite the increasingly chaotic security situation, IMI Pakistan is continuing to operate in Karachi and throughout different parts of Pakistan.

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