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Senior Advisor visits Al Alwiyah Maternity Hospital, Marks Retirement of Respected OBGYN

BAGHDAD—Mr. Jim Haveman, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Health visited Al Alwiyah Maternity Hospital on Monday, January 12, 2003 and met with Dr. Mohammed Ghani Chabek, Director General of the hospital who is also a practicing OBGYN and laparoscopic surgeon. While visiting the facility Mr. Haveman attended a retirement ceremony for Dr. Najla Al-Barnouti an OBGYN who has worked for the Ministry of Health for 40 years.

“My only goal is to serve the women of Iraq”, said Dr. Najla Al-Barnouti while recognizing those gathered for the occasion. “The women of Iraq are my life.” The doctor cited this devotion to her Iraqi sisters as her reason for staying through Iraq’s difficult history in spite of opportunities to leave the country and remain abroad.

As a teacher and a woman, Dr. Al-Barnouti shared her desire to see women—already well represented within the Ministry of Health—take on active leadership roles, especially young women physicians.

“Retirement is just an end of the contract with the Ministry of Health. It is also a beginning,” said Dr. Al-Barnouti when discussing her future plans. Later this month, the doctor plans to attend the Iraq Medical Specialty Forum a venue where Iraqi physicians will have the opportunity to participate in an open process to elect new leaders and organize specialty societies and she encouraged others to participate as well.

Dr. Al-Barnouti was presented with a gold necklace from her colleagues and received a gift from the resident doctors.

During the ceremony Mr. Haveman was asked to deliver remarks and shared with the attendees the Ministry’s focus on maternal and child health and details regarding the implementation of the new salary schedule. The event concluded with a luncheon.

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