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These are problems that Anas Ibrahim, 29, has seen all too often. He is a doctor working in the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights in Halabja, funded by the German government. The center has treated over 1,500 Halabja residents since opening in 2010, and Ibrahim and his colleagues see, on average, 15 to 20 patients a day.
“There are four main problems,” he explained. “Firstly, respiratory issues such as asthma; then skin problems such as eczema and allergic reactions. Then you have eye problems. The last is arthritis, which is not related to the attacks, but old age. But you usually find that they have combined disorders—so perhaps hypertension, depression and skin problems. Multiple disorders.”
Ibrahim provides treatment to the patients, but within a month the problem tends to return. “It is not reversible. You can give medicine, but if they stop taking it the problem comes back. There is no cure,” he said.