The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has allocated an initial eight million dollar, one-year grant to the United Nations Children's Fund to provide basic health, water supply and sanitation services in Iraq.
The grant is part of USAID's planning for reconstruction in Iraq and will build on UNICEF's substantial on-going programs in the country. The UN agency has been active in Iraq since 1997 and is the lead agency for water supply and sanitation in the north of the country.
Under the USAID grant, UNICEF will provide basic health services to the most vulnerable populations with a focus on women and children. Child nutrition is a major concern as almost one-third of all children in the south and central regions of the country are suffering from malnutrition and the child mortality rates have more than doubled in the last decade.
The grant provides support to primary health care services through UNICEF-assisted Ministry of Health clinics by providing funds for essential medicines, vaccines and micronutrients, and establishing a rapid referral and response system for more serious cases.
The grant also makes available UNICEF assistance in management and technical assistance to facility-based medical staff, the publication and distribution of relevant health education materials, nutritional assessments.
The USAID grant also addresses the need to improve the water supply and sanitation system in Iraq by repairing and rehabilitating the existing systems and guaranteeing that affected populations have access to minimal potable water supplies. Immediate attention will be given to repairing key infrastructures and meeting basic household needs for water and sanitation.
UNICEF is expected to coordinate with USAID, local government entities, multilateral and donor partners to realize objectives. This grant will serve to complement humanitarian efforts with the broader goal of ensuring the normalization of health and water services in the shortest time possible. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )