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World Vision to Build Health Clinics in Iran


Caption: Health officials sign the Memorandum of Understanding with World Vision programme officer Debs Harris on the floor of a converted container. (L-R) Assistant director of international affairs for Ministry of Health Dr Mohammad Malek, Professor Iraj Sharifi and Debs Harris.

NB: New Zealander James Addis is in Bam till approximately 22 January, and can give interviews via satellite phone: 00 88 216 511 485. Video footage of James in Bam is also available.

World Vision to Build Health Clinics in Iran

World Vision will rebuild health clinics destroyed during the Bam earthquake under an agreement signed with the Iranian Government yesterday (New Zealand time).

World Vision relief manager Paul Sitnam says the agreement with the Ministry of Health was a breakthrough in dealings with the Iranian government which is traditionally wary of foreign non-government organisations (NGOs).

"The agreement gives World Vision legitimacy in the eyes of the government. We can continue to function in Iran with a greater degree of confidence," he says.

World Vision will reconstruct two village health posts and three health centres. In addition to the rebuilding, World Vision will supply clinics with refrigerators for vaccines, medical equipment, latrines, washbasins and furniture.

Professor Iraj Sharifi, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Iranian Ministry of Health, said the health centres and health posts are vital.

"It's necessary to rebuild them and we need NGOs to help with this problem," he says.

Professor Sharifi says 90 per cent of Bam's health buildings were now either piles of rubble or suffering serious structural damage, making them unfit to use.

But he commended the international community for its support, saying their provision of field hospitals and tent clinics had helped Bam restore medical services to 70-80 per cent of its former capacity.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in converted containers supplied by the Turkish government, in the grounds of Bam's ruined central hospital.

World Vision expects the cost of rebuilding and furnishing the clinics to be about US$850,000. Meanwhile World Vision New Zealand has raised NZ$600,000 in its Bam Earthquake Appeal. The money raised will be used in ongoing rehabilitation work in Bam, including rebuilding houses and schools. Donations can still be accepted on 0800 80 2000, or through the website www.worldvision.org.nz

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