Sunday, September 25, 2005

Medics fleeing Iraq's violence in their thousands

"BAGHDAD, Sept 25 (Reuters) - One of Iraq's most precious resources -- doctors -- are fleeing the country in increasing numbers, scared off by persistent violence and drawn to safer, better paying jobs abroad, officials say.

A steady trickle of skilled workers has been flowing out of the country since the 2003 invasion, but in the past year, with the sharp rise in assassinations and kidnappings by insurgents, the exodus of doctors has picked up, they say.

"Iraq is like a battlefield, doctors face danger just getting to work because of terrorist acts," said Aakif al-Alusi, a senior member of the Iraqi Doctors' Syndicate, the official medics' register, who worries about the long-term social impact of the medical brain-drain.

"Doctors are neutral people in our society, all sides have to allow them to carry out their duties, but that doesn't happen here," he said, explaining the reasons why doctors are leaving."


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