Friday, February 1, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 1 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Hospital Project is About Iraq’s Children.

BASRAH — The Basrah Children’s Hospital project can get its hooks into people.

Take Lt. Col. Kenneth McDonald, an Area Deputy Commander in the Gulf Region Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He leads the Basrah Area Office in the Southern District where part of his job is overseeing the Basrah Children’s Hospital project--one of the highest profile, most complex and potentially most rewarding projects undertaken by USACE in its four years in Iraq. He extended his tour in Iraq to two years from one to help bring the project to a successful conclusion.

“Where else as an Engineer would you want to be?” asked McDonald, who taught in the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department at West Point before coming to Iraq in 2006.

The hospital is designed and being constructed as a 94-bed pediatric tertiary care referral hospital with a focus on pediatric oncology. Intended to support the population of southern Iraq, including Basrah, the country’s second largest city, the facility also will be a training center capable of improving and expanding the training of health professionals throughout Iraq.

In a very real sense, the project is about children. “Sick kids,” said McDonald, citing the grim statistic that 15 out of 100 children in southern Iraq die before the age of five. Childhood cancers are 8-10 times more common in Iraq than in the West. ...

Read the rest here.