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ARTICLE An obstetrician shortage in Iraq is causing many pregnant women in the country to forgo prenatal care, and nightly

curfews, gun battles and spontaneous road closures in the country are forcing them to have caesarean sections or rely on local midwives for delivery services, the Washington Post reports. According to a December 2006 report conducted by the Brookings Institution, before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion into Iraq, 34,000 physicians were registered in the country. The report found that since the invasion, about 12,000 physicians have left the country and 2,000 have been killed. Medical instruments, drugs and blood supplies also are insufficient to provide adequate care to pregnant women, according to the Post. According to Maysoon Abbas, an obstetrician at al-Hayat Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, physicians at the hospital previously performed 160 vaginal deliveries per week, but, as of Dec. 29, 2006, they had performed only 59 that month. The lack of prenatal care and the increase in c-sections are contributing to birth defects, according to some physicians. Many Iraqis say the "exodus of medical workers" is also in part the result of a campaign by insurgents to eliminate people with the skills needed to rebuild Iraq, such as physicians, the Post reports. Physicians, especially female doctors, have been targeted by some unknown groups for murder or kidnapping, according to the Post. "It's a campaign to drain the country," AviadNajeed, a surgeon at al-Jarrah hospital in Baghdad, said, adding, "A very, very well-organized one. We don't know who's behind it" (Trejos, Washington Post, 1/4).

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However infant mortality could be lower and life expectancy could be higher. Iraq barely has any cases of HIV which is remarkable. There are cases of tuberculosis which could be lowered significantly. drugs and blood supplies also are insufficient to provide adequate care to pregnant women . INFANT MORTALITY IS DUE TO: y y y y y The war Women living in the rural areas Lack of education Lack of physician due to the invasion. so there is always room to improve.Iraq has a low infant mortality rate. as well as decent life expectancy. 61 out of every 1. as well as the number of children dying every year. Prenatal care is an area in which improvement is necessary.000 have been killed Medical instruments.000 children are very high. about 12.000 physicians have left the country and 2.