Staff at the al Zahara hospital in al Kut listen to a Maternal and Child Care class Nov. 26.
FOB DELTA, Iraq (Nov. 30, 2008) – Obstetricians and midwives at al Zahara Hospital in al Kut received maternal and child care training provided through a partnership between the hospital staff and coalition forces on Nov. 26.
Eighty-seven students attended the lecture, which covered topics on maternal health, child care and treatment for choking, taught by Dr. Halam Turki, an Iraqi-American obstetrics and gynecological surgeon.
The Wasit director general for health; Company C, 589th Brigade Support Battalion, 41st Fires Brigade; and the 304th Civil Affairs Bde., of Philadelphia; sponsored the training. The training is part of the ongoing Operation Gunner Med, to improve the state of health care in Wasit province through education and infrastructure projects.
The DG saw a specific need for this professional conference. He and the ministry of health are working to reduce infant morbidity and mortality by focusing on maternal and child health, said Col. Italo Bastianelli, 41st Fires Bde. surgeon.
According to The United Nations Children’s Fund, the infant mortality rate in Iraq is 107 for every 1,000 live births, and the rate among children under the age of five is 133 in every 1,000 live births, added Bastianelli.
“This is one of the highest in the region and rates among the highest worldwide,” he said. “The objective of this Iraqi-led conference is to increase nursing knowledge and treatment capacity in order to positively impact regional maternal child healthcare.”
“Our goal is to train and teach all Iraqi women, whether they are educated or not, about maternal health and child care, and how to deal with pregnancy,” said Turki.
The hospital also serves as a training hospital; it offers a preparatory nursing course which teaches the basics of nursing and a midwife training program in place since 1995.