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WHO steps up efforts to distribute drugs in Iraq

UN health agency steps up efforts to distribute drugs in Iraq

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today reported that it is working to distrubute life-saving drugs throughout Iraq despite a cluster of difficulties.

"The distribution system has not functioned since the recent conflict began, due to a number of obvious limitations on transport, coordination and communications," the agency cautioned, noting that parts of Baghdad and other areas "are running short of medicines despite the fact that some of these medicines are available in nearby warehouses."

Following discussions with the United States-run Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs, agreement has been reached on several issues considered essential to tackle the problem, such as security, full inventories, better organization of the warehouses, and a system for planning the allocation of drugs.

As part of its efforts, WHO has furnished computers and related equipment to a central warehouse in a bid to restart the system for managing drug supplies and deliveries. The agency also plans to provide incentives to workers, funds for transportation, and further assistance to manage the information database.

"Establishing a full inventory of all stocks in this and other warehouses is the next urgent task," WHO warned. With requests for medicines already coming in, the agency voiced hope that deliveries will resume towards the end of this week.

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