A Birmingham doctor broke down in tears as she shared her experiences in Iraq with more than 100 delegates at the conference yesterday.
Dr Joanne Meran-Talabani, a consultant paediatrician and lead neonatologist at Good Hope Hospital, in Sutton Coldfield, was highlighting the needs of women and children in the war-torn country.
In 1977, she fled Kirkuk in Iraq "to save our own necks" to go to France with her husband, where they remained for six years before moving to Britain in 1983.
Now Dr Meran-Talabani, an Iraqi, is concerned with saving other people's lives in the region.
While she has visited Kurdistan, regarded as a safe haven, many times since 1991, it was her return to Kirkuk, Mosil and Baghdad in September 2003 that revealed how women and children were suffering.
Children aged under 14 make up nearly half Iraq's population and many of them work to support their families. However, if they fall sick there is only one doctor per 1,818 people to treat them, with just one hospital bed available per 704 patients.
Dr Meran-Talabani said: "Everywhere I went, I saw families living in derelict buildings and children working to support them. Visiting one hospital in Kirkuk, we saw a little boy who had leukaemia.
"He asked me to take his picture, he said 'I know I am going to die'. He couldn't have been older than 13. Unfortunately, he died soon after that trip."
As well as facing rising incidence of cancer and leukaemia, chronic liver-disease and psychological problems, in many parts of Iraq they also face military threats such as unexploded bombs.