Iraqi Physician Speaks on the Epidemic of Birth Defects in Iraq

Global WACh, Health Alliance International, UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, UW Department of Global Health, Washington Global Health Alliance Discovery Series, and numerous cosponsors and endorsers presented:

“The Epidemic of Birth Defects in Iraq: Conversations with an Iraqi Doctor” 

Dr. Muhsin Al-Sabbak, Basra Maternity Hospital
Monday, October 27, 2014

A sharp rise in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq is suspected of having been caused by contamination from depleted uranium and other weapons commencing with the first Gulf War in 1991. By the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Iraqi physicians were already witnessing markedly increasing rates of congenital birth defects and cancers.  A Basra obstetrician, Dr. Muhsin Al-Sabbak, has been spearheading efforts to bring international attention to this epidemic of birth defects. He and Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist and independent researcher, are touring U.S. universities to highlight this issue, which has significant health, moral and international law implications.  

Watch Dr. Al-Sabbak's presention below:


Dr. Muhsin Al-Sabbak is an obstetrician at Basra Maternity Hospital. He has been interviewed by the international media on the birth defects crisis in Iraq. He is also the lead author of a recent paper, “Metal contamination and the epidemic of congenital birth defects in Iraqi cities.” More information may be found here.


Washington Global Health Alliance Discover Series

DCP3 Project Director Rachel Nugent is faculty co-chair of the Washington Global Health Alliance Discovery Series; a collaboration between University of Washington's Department of Global Health and the Washington Global Health Alliance.  The series brings prominent global health scientists to Seattle to spark discussion within the university and community about important topics in the global health field.



Eastern Mediterranean