The Cabinet on Monday approved a humanitarian-evacuations plan for seriously sick Iraqi children. Although the motto of the day is "save wherever possible" the government voted unanimously in favour of a plan which would allow doctors working in the Czech field hospital in Basra, southern Iraq, to select some of the most seriously ill children for specialized long-term care in the Czech Republic.
Over the past three months, Czech doctors in Basra have treated some 4,000 patients, among them 200 children. Due to a long term absence of proper medical care -and the fact that many locals simply could not afford it - people come to them with all manner of problems -including chronic illnesses and serious birth defects. Before there was little they could do about them - but now, thanks to the humanitarian evacuations plan and seven million crowns in emergency funds some of these very sick children will get a chance to live normal lives. Among those on the waiting list are children with heart-defects, lung defects and a cleft palate.
The plan, put forward by Interior Minister Stanislav Gross, should cover the cost of treatment, rehabilitation and travel expenses for both the child patients and their parents. The interior ministry has prior experience with humanitarian programmes for children from war torn countries. During the war in the former Yugoslavia, it flew in children for Kosovo -both for emergency medical care and for summer camps aimed to help war orphans overcome the trauma of their loss. The first Iraqi patients could arrive in the Czech Republic in August. Meanwhile, the government has earmarked another 6 million crowns to help improve conditions in Iraqi hospitals.
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