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Iraq: Doctors Say Health-Care System In Bad Shape

Washington, 2 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The president of Doctors Without Borders said today there is not one hospital in Baghdad that is fully functional. Doctor Morten Rostrup told a news conference in Washington today that three weeks after the fall of Baghdad, Iraqi hospitals are still in disarray.

Rostrup said although there is enough staff and supplies, a lack of organization and leadership is preventing patients from receiving immediate care. He said the U.S.-led coalition is responsible and has failed to fulfill its humanitarian responsibilities under the Geneva Conventions.

"They [coalition forces] are definitely responsible to see that basic services are put in place very rapidly so to avoid suffering of people, and this has not taken place," Rostrup said.

Rostrup said it appears that no proper assessment of postwar health needs was made. He said Baghdad's hospitals were functioning well before the conflict.

Senior U.S. officials have said the United States intends to assure that Iraqi hospitals are restored to full capability.