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The Iraqi health care system suffers from years of neglect, corruption, weak management and chronic under-investment in the maintenance of physical infrastructure, equipment and staff development. Health care spending experienced a 90 percent decline in the final decade of the former regime. This situation was exacerbated by widespread looting and vandalism that left many facilities without any capacity to deliver even the most basic services.


Since May 2003, the MOH has undertaken a major reorganization and recovery. All 240 Iraqi hospitals and more than 1,200 primary health clinics are now operating across Iraq. These facilities include cardiac care centers, pediatric facilities, and nutrition centers. A small, self-sustaining private health care sector exists, with 70 hospitals in operation.

Over the past 14 years, only an average of 4 percent of healthcare facilities saw any rehabilitation or reconstruction. And assessments indicate that as much as 65 percent of equipment in Iraq’s hospitals is not functional or in need of repair or replacement. An integral part of hospital refurbishment will be an effort to refurbish primary care clinics and regional maternal and pediatric referral centers throughout the country. These improvements will help reduce the abysmal infant and maternal mortality rates through access to quality care and supplement public health initiatives already underway in the country, including, immunizations, nutrition counseling, access to clean water and adequate sewage and infrastructure improvements.

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