The health situation in Iraq between the ravages of wars and the devastation of the corrupt …!


The health situation in Iraq lived in a state of fluctuation over many years, especially for the years after the year 1990, 1991 and up to the present day. Perhaps the most important thing that the health sector was exposed to in the nineties of the last century is the military conflicts and wars that broke out during that period up to the year 2003 Which put a final nail in the coffin of the Iraqi health sector, where nearly 12 % of the number of hospitals were destroyed, as well as many health facilities and laboratories of the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

This percentage is according to the World Health Organization and it is expected that the true percentage is much higher, and it is not hidden to the Iraqi reader the true reality of the health system in the country as it suffers from an unparalleled deterioration in a country that was once one of the most prestigious destinations for medical tourism in the Arab world and the Gulf countries .

In 2004, there was some improvement through international funding. About 240 hospitals and 1,200 primary health care centers became operational, the shortage of some medical materials decreased, and training for medical personnel began.

As for health prevention measures in Iraqi hospitals, they are still not satisfactory at the medical level.

There is a shortage of trained personnel, medicines, and health care remains largely unavailable in areas afflicted by terrorism.

In 2005, it amounted to 15 hospital beds, 6.3 doctors and 11 nurses for every 10,000 Iraqi citizens.

In 2006, plans were put in place to allocate $ 1.5 billion from the national budget for spending on health care. “See where the billion and a half went.”

In the late 1990s, infant mortality rates more than double of normal rate. Also, Death rates and complications from cancer patients and diabetes increased in the late 1990s and early 2000s, due to a decrease in the rate of diagnosis and treatment of these two diseases in this era.

The collapse of the infrastructure for sanitation,and water sterilization in 2003 led to an increase in the incidence of epidemics of cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, malnutrition, and childhood diseases (such as asthma, AIDS, anemia, etc.).

Dear reader here we must go back a little in history, specifically at the end of the seventies of the last century Whereas in that period Iraq established the health care system: Iraq established a free, centralized health care system at the end of the 1970’s, using a curative care system, based on concentrated capital and a correct hospital system.

The country relied extensively on importing medical equipment,medicines,and even nurses.

But the costs was paid from oil exports money, and this information is according to the “Watching Brief”, issued by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO). Global Health) in July 2003.

Iraq developed in that period, and despite the war that was raging in the same period, a Western system of advanced hospitals, and doctors specialized in conducting advanced medical operations was established and implemented.

According to the aforementioned report, before 1990, 97 % of the urban population and 71 % of the rural population had the ability to obtain primary health care free of charge, while the management of the private sector was limited to 2 % of hospital beds in Iraq.

Perhaps the Corona pandemic, its consequences and the challenges it produced during this period, which transcended the health to economic and financial aspects in most countries of the world.

However, it constitutes an exceptional threat in Iraq due to the accumulation of 17 years of dismal failure in managing the affairs of the state and the waste of its resources in a way that has made it lose its immunity and its ability to face difficulties and complications, so that the reform process today appears late and is not guaranteed to succeed.

While the health sector appeared dilapidated in Iraq and the accelerating events related to the Corona virus Overcoming it at an accelerated pace, fears began to prevail over a series of collapses that may deteriorate and affect various sectors and vital activities to infect the economic and financial sector in the killing and to make the provision of necessities an uncertain matter in light of doubts about the government’s ability to continue paying the salaries of employees and retirees.

Perhaps one of the strange things is the coming of a new government to Iraq in conjunction with the outbreak of the Corona virus, which succeeded the government of Adel Abdul Mahdi, which fell last November under the pressure of a wave of popular protests against the poor conditions in the country in various respects.

It is not a secret for the reader or follower of the Iraqi street Because of the deteriorating health situation in the country, and several pictures taken by patients in the largest government hospitals in the city of Nasiriyah, southern Iraq.

a dire situation appeared for Corona patients, in terms of the lack of their basic medical needs, which caused a record number of deaths within hours.

Hospitals in Basra and Nasiriyah, in the south of the country, have empty the necessary oxygen tanks to resuscitate critical cases among those infected with Corona virus.

Hospitals in the central and northern regions also suffered from the same deteriorating situation in providing health care to patients.

Unofficial statistics revealed disturbing indicators regarding the transformation of Iraqi government hospitals into areas affected by the virus
Statistics say that most of the critical cases that enter hospitals in Baghdad and the provinces end in death, compared to critical cases that are contained at home, so many Iraqi doctors advise patients to stay at home even if the symptoms are severe.

In an appearance of the seriousness of the threats posed to Iraq by the Corona pandemic, the Prime Minister was forced to seek the assistance of the armed forces to confront the epidemic, and Mustafa Al-Kazemi instructed the army and the Popular Mobilization Forces to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health in combating the virus.

Perhaps the strangest thing that can be said in all of the above is that the esteemed Iraqi government and its respectable political parties, for 17 years, have established five hospitals that are not considered large hospitals only.

Despite the huge amount of money that was made available to them during this period.

“You remember a billion and a half to begin with” According to many experts in the economic field, we reached the following: “Experts in the field of economics say that the governments that followed the administration of Iraq after the fall of the Baath Party regime wasted more than a thousand billion dollars without improving the performance of any service sector, including health.”

In conclusion, dear reader, all of what was mentioned above is the result of one very simple equation, which is “Politicians and their corrupt parties”



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Thualfuqar Center for Strategic Studies, Research and Human Rights .... Thualfuqar center is a private, independent research institution concerned with public affairs in Iraq and the effects of its regional and international environment.

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