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Iraqis with epilepsy "not getting medication"

7 May 2003

The United States-led coalition has failed to meet its responsibility under international humanitarian law to ensure that the health and well being of the Iraqi people is being provided for, according the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

MSF claim that urgent medical needs are not being addressed and disorganisation in hospitals is posing a threat to the health of people in the country. MSF is demanding that the US-led coalition, as the occupying power, immediately fulfil its obligation to provide for the medical needs of the Iraqi people which it has thus far not done. According to MSF people with conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and epilepsy have nowhere to refill their medications.

Dr Morten Rostrup, MSF International Council President, who has just returned from 6 weeks in Baghdad, said:

"Despite three weeks of the US occupation and many months of planning for this war, Baghdad, a city the size of Houston and Chicago combined, still does not have any fully functioning hospitals. Disorder and political struggles in Baghdad and elsewhere have left the health system in disarray at a time when the recent bombings, that included the use of cluster bombs, and ongoing hostilities, including injuries to civilians, make access to health care all the more critical."

The organisation currently has 30 international aid workers in Iraq and surrounding countries and is carrying out assessments in all major cities, including Baghdad, Basra, Karbala, Tikrit, Nasariya, and Mossul, to determine the needs and provide medical assistance where necessary.