I realise I shouldn’t obsess over numbers, but whenever I stop reading Iraq news for a few weeks, it’s the numbers that bring home the scale of things, and how much worse they’re getting.
The annual budget for Iraq’s health ministry is $1.1 billion, according to this article, compared to just $22 million in 2002 – not to mention the sanctions back then. Yet infant mortality has risen over that time (130 deaths per thousand now, compared to 125 then). Meanwhile 7,000 doctors have left the country, at least 455 medical staff (including hospital guards) have been killed, and entire lorries of medical equipment are vanishing.
I’m not sure where all those figures are coming from (is that $22 million figure plausible?), but before the war I’d hoped this was an area that would improve just through Americans throwing money at it. Obviously I was wrong.
Also, up to 1.6 million internally displaced Iraqis (425,000 of them fleeing home since February), and about as many again living outside Iraq – so say UNHCR.
[cross-posted from IAG]