Iraqi Nursing Association receives $137,000 grant
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a $137,000 grant to the Iraqi Nursing Association (INA). The grant will be used for the purchase of new uniforms, bed linens, and nurses' kits, which include stethoscopes and pen lights, and other equipment for the Yarmouk Hospital.
This grant is the first in a series of small grants, which will be made to both international and local non-government organizations to support improvements in the health sector, especially focusing on maternal-child health.
The grant, identified by the INA, is the first to be made under the Iraq Health Systems Strengthening Project (IHSSP) as part of the larger effort to help upgrade Iraqi nursing services and improve the public health system.
The grant was made by Abt Associates, the US government contractor implementing the $43 million IHSSP project, as part of the small grants component of its contract to help improve Iraqi health institutions. Other components of the contract are allocated to procurement of medical supplies and equipment, training for Iraqi health professionals who have been isolated from international technical advances for decades, initiatives with private-sector health providers to provide balance to the national system of healthcare delivery, and funding for the National Iraqi Nurses Conference. The conference, held last week, provided a national dialogue on standards and ethics, continuing education, training and development of a ten-year-plan for the Ministry of Health.
In Iraq, doctors outnumber nurses. Yet, to promote maximum effectiveness of the health system, the preferred nurses-to-doctor ratio is four to one. There are only 300 female nurses with bachelor's degrees in all of Iraq. Given the low professional status and pay of nurses at present, exacerbated by a reduction in the national health budget from $450 million in 1991 to $22 million last year, the US government and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) are planning to bolster the nursing profession through a variety of programs, including support to the Iraqi Nurses
Due to the steep cuts in budget allocations by the former regime, the entire health sector has suffered from lack of equipment, supplies, operation and maintenance funding since the 1980s. Much of the government is old and health professionals have had little technological contact with new developments in the international health arena.
The IHSSP project will address many of these issues, including procurement of equipment and medicines in chronic short supply, assisting the Ministry of Health in developing a new national health policy to bring adequate resources to bear on national public health problems, as well as bolstering private-sector medical care with access to recent medical technology.
USAID also had made grants of $20 million to UNICEF and $10 million to the World Health Organization to help with the reconstruction of the Iraqi health system. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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