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NEWS RELEASE
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill AFB, Fla. 33621-5101
Phone: (813) 827-5894; FAX: (813) 827-2211; DSN 651-5894

March 7, 2004
Release Number: 04-03-18


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Iraqi Health Care Summit focuses on immediate needs

QAYYARAH, Iraq - Leaders and political officials from several
surrounding towns in the Qayyarah area came together for the Tigris
River Valley Health Care Summit Thursday to discuss health care issues
in this region south of Mosul.

According to conference attendees, this is the first time in recent
Iraqi history that a conference of this nature has been conducted. It is
sponsored by the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd
Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) under the operational
control of Task Force Olympia in northern Iraq.

A panel of Iraqi and Coalition forces medical personnel, as well as the
Governor of Nineveh Province, Ghanem Al Basso, listened to mayors and
other representatives from the towns of Al Hadr, Hammam Al Alil,
Qayyarah, Ash Shura, Makhmur and Tall Abtah. The concerns voiced by the
town officials included the shortage of medical supplies and drugs in
the region, outdated facilities, unserviceable ambulances and the lack
of medical staff to keep clinics running.

Despite these issues, local medical professionals are optimistic about
the future.

"We have been working on rebuilding and getting basic supplies such as
beds, and with the help of the Coalition forces, we have been able to
establish services such as emergency centers," said Dr. Yassin Rabia,
Director General of Health for the Nineveh province.

The summit was another step towards developing an independent Iraq and
improving the cooperation among sectors of Iraqi people.

"This summit gets everybody understanding the system (to give)them the
chance to learn more, talking to the Governor about the things that are
and are not working, and determining who is responsible for solving
them. This is Iraqis solving Iraqi problems," said Lt. Col. Karl Reed,
commander of the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment.

Task Force Olympia continues to work with the citizens and leaders of
Iraq to make it a safe, prosperous, and democratic nation.


FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT LT COL JOSEPH PIEK AT JOSEPH.PIEK@US.ARMY.MIL



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