Life in Post-Saddam Iraq
Until 1990 - when sanctions were imposed following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait - the Iraqi health system was considered one of the best in the region with a budget of $450m. By 2002, it is estimated to have fallen to $22m. Sanctions and budget cuts have been blamed for a huge rise in mortality rates. About a quarter of children die before reaching the age of five, and Iraq now has some of the worst health indicators in the Middle East. Medical charities say the health system is in a worse condition than before the invasion. According to Medact, 12% of hospitals were damaged during the fighting and the two main public health laboratories destroyed.