Dr. Wadhad Mahbuba is the manager of WiRED International's Medical Information Centers in Iraq. The Iraqi physician describes here how the four original Centers, which were installed in mid-2003, are operating today. He offered this account in a conversation with WiRED's Gary Selnow who is working in Baghdad.
Medical City Center: You saw the place for yourself. It's a beehive with so many students and doctors that they have to double up and wait in line to use the computers. In January 2004, the Internet was installed in this hospital and these computers now give people access material from medical websites. This is the busiest place in the hospital and it dispenses far more information than the books that are all out of date. After I left the crowded Computer Center the other day, I went to the book library and saw that nobody was there, it was empty. Good or bad? I don't know but I think the latest and most varied sources of medical information to our students and staff has clearly become these WiRED electronic libraries.
Al Yarmoulk: Last summer, the hospital administration offered computer classes for all staff and students in the Medical Information Center. Most people signed up and are now skilled in information searching on CDs and in other computer skills such as word processing and file maintenance. This is a great resource not only for information, but to increase the computer skills that will be necessary in modern medicine as doctors store and access patient information. We don't have those patient data systems in place yet, but the staff is ready to use them when they become available. The Medical Information Centers have served this valuable training function. The Internet is not yet available in Al Yarmoulk, but it soon will be and that will open yet another door through which these people can walk into the future of medicine. This Center has been a genuine benefit for these people.
Al Kadymia: The young doctors in this hospital also have used the Center to train staff and students in computer skills. They also have been using the CDs to obtain information that just isn't available anywhere else around here. Remember how these doctors cleaned up the room themselves after it was filled with all that garbage and destruction right after he war and the looting? (Read Dr. Selnow's article: Paradox Amid the Rubble.) They really wanted this Center and they have used it to its fullest potential. They await the Internet; that will lead to a major expansion of the use of this Center.
Spinal Cord Center: As you know, the Spinal Cord Center was caught in the UN blast last August. The explosion damaged some of the computers, but within a month they got three of them back up and running, and they opened the Center again. It's now busy and being used by the staff for access to medical information on disks. We hope the Internet will soon be available there. We need a lot more information about spinal cord developments and other neurological subjects.*
*Note: The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation has provided funding to help expand the availability of information about spinal cord injuries and other information about neurology and neurosurgery. WiRED will be providing this Center and others in Iraq with this information.
The expansion is underwritten by generous grants from The Medtronic Foundation, Pfizer Inc., the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Affinity Internet and many private donors.
WiRED is collaborating on this effort with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.
WiRED works in cooperation with the Marian Wright Edelman Institute at San Francisco State University.
Layout by Brian Colombe.
^ Back to the Top