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From: ICBUW Office <office@icbuw.org>
BBC: major Iraq birth defect study expected to show increase linked to conflict

The BBC has reported that a much anticipated study by the WHO and Iraqi Ministry of Health will show that rates of birth defects in Iraq are higher in areas that were subject to heavy fighting in 2003.
22 March 2013 – ICBUW
The report, broadcast on BBC World and available online features an interview with researchers at the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH). The researchers indicate that the report, which has been produced jointly by the WHO and MoH, will find that rates of birth defects are higher in areas of Iraq that were subjected to heavy fighting in the 2003 war. The publication of the final report, scheduled for early this year has been delayed, but the BBC’s report offers a first glimpse at the results.

“The BBC’s report fits with our expectations from smaller localised studies and the reports of healthcare professionals in Iraq,” said an ICBUW spokesperson. “Naturally we will await the publication of the full report but should the findings and methodology prove to be robust, the study could add considerably to the pressure for action to reduce the legacy of modern conflict on public health. However more research will be needed to establish the precise risk factors responsible.”