Fourth Installment of "Where Things Stand" in Iraq

As for Iraq's universities, they suffered "heavy looting" following the U.S.-led invasion, and according to Salah Adhab, a senior official in the Ministry of Higher Education, many of these facilities have yet to recover. According to a United Nations study, 50 university teachers have been killed and nearly 84 percent of higher education establishments had been "destroyed, damaged and robbed" since the end of the war.

Facts & Figures:

Literacy:

North: 56 percent

Central: 60 percent

South: 63 percent

Baghdad: 78 percent

Males: 74 percent

Females: 56 percent

Source: UNDP, Iraq Living Conditions Survey, published May 2005

Highest Education Level Completed

North: 7 percent higher; 30 percent elementary, 24 percent never attended school

Central: 9 percent higher; 31 percent elementary, 22 percent never attended school

South: 10 percent higher; 30 percent elementary, 24 percent never attended school

Baghdad: 16 percent higher; 27 percent elementary, 13 percent never attended school

Source: UNDP, Iraq Living Conditions Survey, published in May 2005.

6) HEALTH CARE

North: Better

Central: Same or Worse

South: Same or Better

This remains a tough area in which to gauge progress. Without question there is exponentially more money spent today on health care than there was during the final years of Saddam's rule. Whether this money is being efficiently spent or fairly distributed is up for debate.

While health care may be "available" to all Iraqis, hospitals throughout the country remain in need of renovations and repair, and they often operate without the most basic medicines, or with ill-functioning equipment. Like Iraqi households, hospitals and health centers are affected by the degraded water and sanitation systems, and the on-again, off-again supply of electricity.

In central Iraq, complaints about health care were common. According to Dr. Ayad Abdul Kadhem of Sadr Hospital, "Almost anything is better than being a doctor in Iraq right now. The situation is so difficult in the medical field that many of us want to quit." The head of the ER at Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital spoke passionately to us about the psychological toll he and his colleagues have felt -- and scores of doctors have, in fact, left Iraq in the past few years. The mass exodus of Iraqi doctors has had a devastating effect on the health care system in Iraq.

Still, by 62 percent to 36 percent, Iraqis told us that the availability of health care was "good." We heard positive reports from patients at Al Nasiriyah General Hospital in Basra -- compliments for doctors who, like so many Iraqi teachers, have been the beneficiaries of salary upgrades in the last two years.

In efforts to improve the health care system and to bring back many of Iraq's doctors living abroad, salaries for doctors have been increased dramatically, from $20 a month before the war to more than $200 a month, according to Iraqi Deputy Minister of Health.

Final note: USAID has provided supplemental doses of Vitamin A to more than 600,000 children under 2 and 1.5 million lactating mothers since the war began. In addition, USAID has helped provide skills-training sessions to approximately 2,500 primary health care professionals and 700 physicians.

7) AVAILABILITY OF GOODS

North: Better

Central: Same or Better

South: Better

The proliferation of goods in Iraq has become something of an explosion.

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