Docs spread infection control in Iraq
Dr. John Podgore, professor of pediatrics, and Dr. Barbara Atkinson, associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Disease, recently traveled to Irbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq as part of a group that helped plan an infection control program for Iraq’s healthcare system. The trip was funded by a U.S. Agency for International Development grant to rebuild Iraq’s healthcare system and sponsored by the Medical Alliance of Iraq and American Academy of Pediatrics. Podgore and Atkinson were joined by Dr. James Brien, TCOM ’77, head of the Pediatric Infections Diseases Division at Scott and White Hospital and professor of pediatrics at Texas A&M Health Science Center in Temple, Texas.
Fifty-three Iraqi healthcare workers attended the three-day Iraqi Medical Specialty Forum and shared ideas about controlling infectious diseases in their own facilities.
Through the ages, the Iraqi region has been known for leading medical practices. However, current infectious disease prevention procedures lag behind Western practices by 40 years or more. Recommendation for improved infectious disease control include wearing masks over both the nose and mouth, keeping soap and hand-washing tools out of standing water, using paper towels, and using new equipment that currently sits idle.
The group will share with the Iraqi healthcare workers a new program developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for Kenya and will continue working with Iraq health officials to improve the sanitary conditions and practices in Iraq’s healthcare facilities. Progress will be monitored through bi-weekly conference calls, and plan to return in three to six months to evaluate progress in implementing a new mandate for a new infectious disease control program.