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Medical News & Perspectives
August 13, 2008

Iraq’s Prescription for Violent Barriers to Health Care: Cell Phones and E-mail

JAMA. 2008;300(6):637-638. doi:10.1001/jama.300.6.637

Chicago—Two small tools taken for granted in much of the industrialized world—e-mail and the ubiquitous cell phone—could play major roles in helping Iraqi physicians fly over the radar of wartime violence to treat patients more effectively and help restore the country's once-robust health care system.

Since the 2003 US invasion, Iraqi medical professionals have been stretched to their limits. They are called on to treat casualties from explosions and car bombings so massive that patients in some cases outnumber hospital beds by 2 to 1. Physicians in Iraq also have become targets themselves, killed by death squads or kidnapped and held for ransom. Basic security needs compete daily with Iraqis' medical and public health needs.

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