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Former Libya Health Minister Feared for Her Life During Tenure.

Libya's former health minister in the National Transition Council, NTC, after the overthrow of the Libyan dictator, Gaddafi, Dr Fatima Hamroush said she feared for her life doing her job in Libya.

Dr Hamroush, an Irish-based consultant ophthalmologist based at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda until November last year until she was appointed Libya's health minister by the NTC, said at a conference in Dublin, that she became a marked women after attempting to deal with a massive fraud on the Libyan state by bogus fighters who claimed to have been wounded in the overthrow of the former dictator.

Her tenure came to an end of November, she said she was accompanied by eight armed guards carrying Kalashnikovs and lived inside an army compound, and felt as if she was on house arrest.

Dr Hamroush, a member of the Libyan opposition based overseas since 2008 said her original appointment was for eight months but it was extended for a year. She is now back in Ireland having worked in the post until November 21st and has been replaced by Dr Noureddine Daghman. She will return to her post in Drogheda in January.

Speaking at a conference on the future of eye care hosted by the the Irish College of Ophthalmologists (ICO) in Dublin Thursday, Dr Hamroush described Libya as a rich country ruined by the previous regime.

She recounted having to deal with a major fraud in her short time in the ministry. She said that one involved a major corruption that cost the State '1.2 billion in fraudulent payments to those who had claimed to have been wounded as they fought to overthrow the former dictator.

Others were getting payments to receive treatment abroad and the system was abused. She was reported saying that the scam was run by a different department. When it was brought to her attention, she put a stop to it, and was then accused of denying medical treatment to those who had been involved in overthrowing the old regime.

She went on to say that at one stage she was stopped by four armed men on the way to a TV station and was saved because her drivers knew her putative kidnappers.

She was later physically attacked in her office and on another occasion she barred them from her office. "At that stage I thought I should resign," she is reported saying.

Dr Hamroush said her experiences in Libya made her appreciate Ireland a lot more. "There is a law here and people are held accountable. There is respect and a code of ethics here and nobody is above the law." But despite her experiences in Libya she said the country was progressing.

She told delegates: 'I would particularly like to mention here is that for 40 years, all what you could see on the billboards were Gaddafi's propaganda, then during the revolution that changed to photos of the martyrs and the missing, then, a year later, billboards of the candidates for election. This is change."

2012 - The Tripoli Post

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Publication:The Tripoli Post (Tripoli, Libya)
Geographic Code:6LIBY
Date:Dec 6, 2012
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