Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bush’s “Discredited Study” from Johns Hopkins Epidemiologists

In his Rose Garden Press Conference President Bush dissed the recently released estimates of civilian deaths post U.S. invasion of Iraq. He faulted the studies assumptions. Yet the research was funded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, conducted in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health epidemiologists, and published in a British medical journal, The Lancet.

According to the survey results, Iraq's mortality rate in the year before the invasion was 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people; in the post-invasion period it was 13.3 deaths per 1,000 people per year. The difference between these rates was used to calculate "excess deaths."

The Bush administration is well aware that the greatest threat to world health is conflict or war as it reduces access to food, medicines, health care and basic sanitation. The lead speaker, Dr. Mae Jemison shared this with Department of Health and Human Services representatives at the National Meeting for Community Health Centers in Miami Beach last September. Does the Bush administration not listen to its own people?

While people can argue over the exact numbers, the general inference from the study is well established. Internal conflict and war significantly deteriorate the health of a population. Why is Bush continually surprised and defensive about this? Is it because he has two more wars in his back pocket?

The people of Korea already suffer for the pathology of their leader. Iran has an educated populace and decent employment. The Middle Eastern Islamic Republic stands to loose much more health wise should an outbreak of violence occur.

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