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Local doctor travels to Iraq to provide medical care

A local doctor is travelling to Iraq next week to help people in his hometown of Basra.

It is the fourth visit by Laith Al-Rubaiy to help people in outlying areas of the city where medical care is rudimentary.

Dr Al-Rubaiy, who is a consultant gastroenterologist at St Mark’s Hospital, will be met by his brother, Ali Kadhim, who is also a doctor in Iraq. 

Dr Al-Rubaiy said: “I’m indebted to my home country and this is the least I can do. Iraq is still recovering from the conflict but things are slowly improving.

“There is still a lot of damage to the infrastructure, with a shortage of clean drinking water, sporadic electricity and a lack of pharmaceutical drugs and equipment.

“On previous visits we were offering vaccinations and treating a lot of chest infections, diarrhoea and infectious diseases because of insanitary conditions.

“Basra used to be called the Venice of the Middle East because of its confluence of waterways but they are now polluted, which has added to the health problems.”

Dr Al-Rubaiy will be running a mobile clinic from a converted van and is being supported by UK-based charity AMAR.

His work in Iraq has included building on national projects including bowel cancer screenings, and blood borne viral hepatitis screening. He hopes to use Skype to still advise patients when he returns to the UK.

“The Iraqis are a resilient people and really appreciated our efforts on previous visits. I am hopeful that the country has turned a corner and what we need now is peace and stability so that we can rebuild.”

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