In August, two doctors from Basra in southern Iraq attended Nagoya University Hospital's Department of Pediatrics to study the latest techniques for transplanting bone marrow from healthy donors to children suffering from cancer. Basra, which has a high rate of pediatric cancer (15.74 cases per 10,000 children) after the use of depleted uranium in the first and second Gulf wars, became the site of Iraq's first dedicated cancer treatment center in May of this year.
The center will also be the first facility in Iraq to provide bone marrow transplants to pediatric cancer patients. To study this complex procedure, two of its doctors, Mohammed Al-Farttoosi and Nayyef Al-Khafaji, were brought to Nagoya by an NGO, Save Iraqi Children Nagoya (SICN). They worked with, and learned from, Dr. Yoshiyuki Takahashi, the head of the Nagoya University Department of Pediatrics. They observed the whole process of bone marrow transplant treatment, from the planning and consultation stages, to the surgery itself.
The surgeons are optimistic about the future. "We should be able to offer these procedures to our patients within the next two years", said Dr. Al-Farttoosi. "We would love for other Iraqi doctors to be able to come to Japan and study these procedures as well." Nagoya University's Dr. Takahashi added: "Knowledge and experience are what matters. If they are ever stuck or unclear about something in the future, we want them to get in touch with us."
Drs. Al-Farttoosi and Al-Khafaji are the 53rd and 54th doctors to be brought to Nagoya by SICN since 2003.