UN seeks aid to bolster health of displaced Iraqis

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GENEVA, Sep 18 (Reuters) Five United Nations agencies appealed to donors today for 85 million dollar to combat illness and malnutrition among more than 2 million Iraqis who have fled war and violence in their country.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN children's agency UNICEF said the funds would be used to improve access to reproductive and child health care, as well as treatment for cancer patients, trauma victims and amputees.

Vaccination cover must also be reinforced in many cases, while unemployment and economic woes among the displaced had caused rising malnutrition, the agencies said in a statement released in Geneva.

''The health needs of more than 2 million displaced Iraqis should not be ignored. Many are survivors of violence and have serious medical conditions,'' they said, stressing that Iraqis streaming into Syria, Jordan and other countries over the past year had ''put an enormous strain'' on host governments.

''The burden on their health systems has become overwhelming and requires immediate and urgent support from the international community,'' their statement read. The 85 million dollar would cover health assistance until the end of next year.

REUTERS RC BST0228

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