Cablegate: Cpa Senior Health Advisor Haveman's Visit to Amman

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

Sensitive but unclassified; please protect accordingly

1. (sbu) Summary: CPA Senior Health Sector Advisor Jim
Haveman and a team of CPA staff visited Amman July 28-29 on a
fact-finding and appeal tour. During meetings with an array
of local and international groups, Haveman described current
conditions in the Iraqi health sector, elicited outside views
on progress being made in Iraq, and made a pitch for material
and technical assistance. CPA has already made enormous
strides in getting the health sector up and running again,
but used this trip to identify a number of remaining critical
needs for which they are requesting assistance from the donor
community, governments, and the private sector. The GOJ has
already begun to consider some of these needs and could be a
natural conduit for rebuilding Iraq's health sector. End


2. (u) The health sector currently consists of: One
11-story MoH building; approximately 240 public hospitals; 70
private hospitals; 5 hospitals that were previously the
private reserves of Saddam Hussein and family; 1,200 primary
care clinics; 13 medical schools. The sector employs 85,000
people, including MoH personnel and health care
professionals. The sector has 29,000 hospital beds, half of
them empty.


3. (u) According to Haveman, all 11 stories of the MoH
building were completely gutted by looters, down to the
switchplates and electrical wiring in the building. Power
supply to the country's hospitals is sporadic, and roughly
50% of the medical equipment country-wide is not working.
Resources tend to be concentrated in and around Baghdad, with
significantly lower levels of supply and infrastructure in
the south and in the north. For example, Haveman noted that
3 million northern Kurds share 3 MRI machines, and have not
had access to basic painkillers like Demerol in over 14 years.

4. (u) Medical capabilities in the country are relatively
strong, with a healthy supply of qualified physicians and
pharmacists. However, lack of access to information over the
past two-plus decades has put the medical community well
behind the curve on modern techniques and therapies. Nursing
care is substandard, with nurses serving more as orderlies
than as medical caregivers.

5. (u) Management capabilities throughout the country are
virtually non-existent. Decades of oppression have stifled
initiative, and much of the sector, as elsewhere in the
country, is ruled by fear or reprisal for any independent
thought. Furthermore, the completely centralized nature of
the sector under Saddam meant that only the MoH had
administrative authority, leaving doctors in charge of local
hospital administration. The system currently has no
hospital administrators as such.

6. (u) The CPA MoH budget stands at $210 million for H2
2003, exclusive of salaries. This compares favorably to the
$16 million Saddam spent in all of 2002 to provide health
care for 23 million people. Within the CPA budget, $30
million has been earmarked for procurement of generators for
hospitals, and another $125 million for
purchasing/procurement of critically needed supplies (in
addition to funds provided through the OFF program).


7. (u) Haveman's overarching goal is to decentralize the
healthcare system and devolve as much responsibility as
possible to the local level. In conjunction with that, he is
working to overhaul the MoH and bring supplies and services
to communities that need them most. Since the war ended, CPA

-- delivered humanitarian supplies to critical needs areas,
including 3,500 tons of medical supplies in the past 45 days.

-- returned medical service levels to near or better than
pre-war levels: in the Kurdish north, service levels are at
100%-plus of pre-war levels; in Basra and the south, service
is at 85% of pre-war; and in Baghdad and central Iraq,
service levels are at 75% of pre-war.

-- restructured wages for health care professionals. Doctors
now earn $160-$260 per month (vice $20/month under Saddam),
and pharmacists have seen their wages increase substantially
from the $1/month they earned under the old regime.
-- Purged the upper reaches of the MoH of Baathist
leadership, removing 10 senior MoH officials.

-- held the first country-wide meeting of provincial hospital
managers in 40 years.

-- held the first country-wide nurses' seminar in recent

-- launched the "Adopt-a-hospital" program, which seeks to
identify sponsors from the international public or private
sector who will refurbish, repair, and supply one of the 30
hospitals designated by CPA has having the most critical
-- began prioritizing O-F-F contracts to ensure delivery of
the most critically needed supplies. CPA staff have
categorized outstanding approved and funded contracts into
four tiers, with tier one being the most critically needed
supplies. The top 50 tier one contracts were submitted to
the UN on July 24, and notification to ship should go out to
contractors by August 7. Tier 2 contracts will be notified
by end September; tier 3 by end October; and tier 4 (no
priority) by November 21, when OFF terminates. In addition,
CPA is prioritizing approved but NOT funded contracts to see
which if any contain critically needed supplies. Those that
do will be considered for filling from CPA's $125 million
procurement budget. Lower priority unfunded OFF contracts
may be considered at a later date, depending on how needs
develop. Contracts with Iraq under programs other than OFF
(e.g., the Jordan-Iraq oil and trade protocol) are not
currently being prioritized by CPA.

-- began plans to identify a "tiger team" of some 200
engineers and repair specialists already in Iraq to conduct a
rapid assessment and repair of inoperable medical equipment.
That which can be fixed easily will be, that which is
irreparable will be discarded, that which requires additional
repair will be identified. Announcement of this team may be
made in as little as two weeks.


8. (u) CPA is developing a "wish list" of critical needs
and of longer term needs for bringing the MoH and the sector
up to international norms. Broadly speaking, outstanding
needs can be broken down into two categories: material
needs, and technical assistance needs.

9. (u) Iraq is critically short of "tier one" drugs, i.e.
high-quality pharmaceuticals and life-saving and more
specialized drugs. The Kimadia warehouse is awash in drugs
purchased under OFF during the Saddam regime, but many of
those drugs were purchased for purely political reasons and
either do not work, are not safe, or were never intended for
delivery. CPA made a plea to multinational pharmaceutical
company regional representatives for a commitment to donate
and/or contract quality drugs on a long-term commitment
basis, to ensure a continuous supply.

10. (u) The country is also in critically short supply of
basic medical supplies and equipment, and is seeking
donations from the private sector and donor community to
supplement current stocks. CPA is also preparing a specific
needs list for presentation to the planned UN donors'
conference in October. Haveman mentioned in particular a
shortage of proper hospital beds, noting all the beds in the
system date from the mid-1980's. On a related note, he said
bedsheets and blankets are virtually nonexistent.

11. (u) The Ministry itself, and hospital administrative
offices, are in need of basic office supplies - desks,
chairs, wastebaskets, calculators, and the like. CPA would
welcome donations of such equipment. Haveman was quick to
note, though, that MoH is not yet prepared to accept IT
equipment, as they have not planned out an IT strategy which,
he noted, would have to be compatible with other government
ministries and with the network of hospitals and clinics.

12. (u) The healthcare system also needs updated medical
textbooks, journals, and other recent medical literature,
including on CD-ROM, both to supply medical schools and to
bring practicing healthcare providers up to speed on current
practices. Finally, the system is in short supply of
medical-grade oxygen. CPA has indicated a desire either for
a steady supply of such oxygen or, even better, investment in
existing or new oxygen manufacturing plants to provide oxygen
to hospitals on a commercial basis.

13. (u) While material needs are the most critical
currently, CPA has noted a number of areas where technical
assistance would be welcome in the medium-to-long term.
These areas include, but are not likely limited to, finding
adoptive "parents" for the Adopt-a-Hospital program,
providing training/skills upgrades for Iraqi pharmacists,
repairing medical equipment not covered by the "tiger team,"
skills training for nurses, legislative and regulatory
assistance to develop a streamlined registration/licensing
regime, development of certification programs and exams for
local healthcare providers, and training for EMT's/first
14. (sbu) During Haveman's meetings in Amman, both the
private sector and the GOJ expressed eagerness to help meet
critical needs wherever possible. CPA staff noted that
virtually all of the OFF contracts that Jordanian suppliers
inquired about had been prioritized as "tier one," indicating
that many outstanding approved/funded Jordanian contracts
would be settled expeditiously. They further noted that,
among the approved but NOT funded contracts, many Jordanian
contracts would probably fall into areas deemed "critical
needs." In addition to contract-based support, Jordan
offered the following:

-- a group of local doctors has offered to establish a
working group to provide training, teaching, and - to the
extent possible - medical literature to Iraqi counterparts.

-- The Jordanian Armed Forces have a field hospital currently
operating in Iraq. CPA has asked the GOJ to consider folding
it into the Adopt-a-Hospital program, in an effort to
eliminate the possibility of a parallel healthcare system
choking off development of the sector. The Embassy ad the
GOJ will begin discussing this proposal next week.

-- The Jordanian MoH is providing CPA with copies of all
healthcare-related legislation and regulatory frameworks
developed since Jordan acceded to the WTO. In particular,
they have offered to assist CPA develop regulations for a
new, transparent and efficient drug registration regime.

-- Jordan's MoH also offered to include Iraqi enrollment in
its newly-founded nursing center.

-- On a broader level, GOJ Planning Minister Bassem Awadallah
has pledged the GOJ's full support for any future CPA MoH
needs, noting that a stable, prosperous Iraq is in Jordan's
best interest. Haveman told Awadallah he would try to put
together a specific "wish list" to highlight areas where
Jordan might help.

15. (u) CPA Senior Advisor Haveman did not have the
opportunity to clear this message.

16. (u) Baghdad minimize considered.

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