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The 2003 Iraq War and Avoidable Death Toll

  • Salman Rawaf mail

    Affiliation: WHO Collaborating Centre, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

  • Published: October 15, 2013
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001532

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Injury Mortality Surveillance in Iraq, 2010-2012: Unpublished Data

Posted by AbdulSalam1 on 18 Oct 2013 at 19:23 GMT

As Salman Rawaf said the gold standard is a mortality surveillance (prospective death reporting), captures real-time data". Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Health with technical support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Atlanta, USA) initiated a mortality surveillance system since 2010 in eight governorates: Baghdad, Anbar, Basra, Erbil, Karballa, Misan, Nineveh, and Sulaymaniyah. It collects data on all deaths due to injury reported by coroner offices (CO). From First of January 2013 the system is expanded to include all Iraq governorates.

The data on fatalities due to injuries were collected by trained statisticians at the coroner offices using a standardized surveillance form. Information on demographics, cause, intent and place of injury was extracted from police reports, preliminary reports of examination at the coroner offices, and interviews with family members. In Iraq, by law, all fatalities due to injury have to be reported to the coroner offices so that a death certificate can be issued. The data were entered at the coroner offices and transmitted to the project focal point at the Ministry of Health for analysis.

A total of 7,594, 7,480, and 7,822 injury fatalities were reported in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. The highest proportion of fatalities was due to traffic injuries which was the most killing factor for young male Iraqis Table 1. I personally lost my biggest son who is a newly graduated doctor by road traffic injury before 2 weeks! Followed by bullet wounds, burns, electric injury, and insurgency related explosions. The number of deaths due to insurgency-related explosions and bullet wounds was the highest in Baghdad, Nineveh and Anbar governorates. Detailed results of the analysis will be available from the annual MoH injury reports. In conclusion, the data show that gun violence and insurgency-related explosions remain an important causes of mortality. However, injuries from other causes (e.g., traffic injuries, burns, electrocutions) account for the majority of injuries.

The system provides a comprehensive picture of the epidemiology of mortality due to all types and causes of injury. MoH and collaborative agencies are in process of reporting the data of the surveillance system covering the period from 2010 to 2012.

Table 1. Distribution of Causes of Fatal Injuries in Eight Iraqi Governorates, 2010-2012
2010 2011 2012
Traffic Injury 24.7% 27.9% 27.9%
Bullet Injury 24.9% 24.4% 23.9%
Burns 14.8% 15.5% 15.2%
Insurgency Explosions 9.1% 7.3% 5.9%
Electric Injury 7.1% 6.4% 7.8%
Drowning 4.3% 4.2% 4.7%
Other Injuries 14.0% 13.0% 13.5%
Unknown 1.1% 1.3% 1.1%

No competing interests declared.