At least 45% of deaths in the southern provinces of Iraq are caused by cancer, according to a study, The Increase in Cancer Cases as Result of War Debris, published in May 2007 by Basra University Medical College.

“Psychological stresses and strains engendered by years of conflict, violence, displacement, and uncertainty have weakened people’s natural resistance to disease. This has been compounded by the lack of skilled medical staff and poor facilities and equipment,” a 2007 article reads at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

One project is at least making an effort to address the situation in part: Basra Children’s Hospital. It is organized by Project Hope, an international organization whose mission is to advance healthcare around the world, particularly for children.

Last year, at the HCD conference, we interviewed Fred Gerber of Project Hope and Peter Veale, AIA, of Bechtel about the design and construction of Basrah Children’s Hospital in southern Iraq, still under construction under wartime conditions.

HCD07 Video: Building Basrah Children’s Hospital in Iraq