Thursday, March 29, 2007

Omar Is Dying--U.S. Democracy in Iraq

"BAGHDAD, Um Mustafa Bakr is a 33-year-old mother-of-three who is desperately looking for treatment for her son, Omar. The two-year-old has been suffering serious bouts of epilepsy-induced convulsions for the past year.

"I’m tired of going to public hospitals in search of treatment for my son. He’s just a baby and is suffering from a condition that could kill him. Basic medicines can keep him alive. Omar has to take a drug called carbamazepine, which is used for the treatment of anxiety, epilepsy and convulsions.

"Each time he has a bout of convulsions, I get scared that it’s going to be the last day of his life. Initially, we were getting free treatment in public pharmacies, but for the past six months the situation has changed and we don’t get free treatment any more."

My husband’s been unemployed for the past two years. We’re only able to survive because some relatives are helping us with food and clothes for the children. We don’t have money to buy medicines from private pharmacies for Omar, especially after a medicine shortage has made pharmacy owners raise their prices.

"I asked two local NGOs for help but until now they haven’t given me any medicine for his treatment, saying that none of the drugs in their stores can be used for the treatment of my child.

"I don’t know what else to do to get help for my son. I can’t buy the tablets from private pharmacies, which sell 10 tablets for nearly US $10. This money’s enough for my family to eat for the whole week. But I don’t want my son to die from a condition that can be simply treated.

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