Minister's Biography
Health Care in Iraq
Health Promotion

Iraq has much to learn and needs the support of other nations. Iraq and the Ministry of Health are emerging from more than a decade of intellectual isolation and decades of infrastructure neglect and underinvestment. Iraqi health professionals are eager to exchange ideas and learn new and progressive treatments and technologies. The MOH is working to promote this exchange and explore the international resources and institutions that will help Iraq rebuild a health care system that is once again a leader in the Middle East.

More than 30 years ago, Iraq was a regional leader in healthcare. Under the former regime, the country had fallen to last place among its neighbors in per capita health spending. Its doctors, while intelligent and educated, did not have access to state-of-the-art medical training, the Internet, satellite TV, or current medical and professional journals. The former regime also dispensed care along party and ethnic lines. As a result, health care for certain segments of the population and the poor was summarily neglected and almost nonexistent.

Today’s Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH) is building a comprehensive healthcare system that is financially sound and assures quality care that is accessible, affordable and available regardless of ethnicity, geographic origin, gender, socio-economic status or religious affiliation.

MOH personnel are actively working to restructure the Iraqi healthcare system. Those involved are battling decades of neglect and underinvestment, but there is a talented staff with ambitious, but achievable, goals with a focus on:

  • Hospital rehabilitation and Primary Health Centers
  • Maternal and Child health programs
  • Community health and mental health programs
  • Public health programs, including clean water, nutrition, and disease surveillance
  • Professional training in both clinical and management settings

The MOH also is working to emphasize the importance of decentralizing healthcare by working with governorates and Primary Health Centers to integrate reporting and data collection into a modern system that prioritizes disease prevention and supervision.

An aspect of prevention and primary care will focus on maternal and child health with the goal of reducing the infant mortality rate by one half by the end of 2005.

MOH Accomplishments:

  • The entire country is at pre-war capabilities for providing health care - 240 Iraqi hospitals and more than 1,200 primary health centers are operating.
  • Doctors' salaries have increased to between US$120 a month and $180 a month, in comparison to $20 a month before the war.
  • Iraq's 2004 budget for health care is US$950 million. Saddam Hussein's regime provided only $16 million for the Ministry of Health in 2002, a 90 percent reduction from a decade earlier.
  • More than 30 million doses of children's vaccinations have been procured and distributed, and the Ministry has received grants to immunize the country's 4.2 million children under the age of five against preventable diseases such as polio, tetanus, diphtheria, measles, and tuberculosis.
  • Routine vaccinations are available to newborns, children, and mothers every day at Ministry of Health facilities across the country and are promoted nationally through immunization days on the 22nd of each month.
  • Since May 24, the Ministry of Health has delivered more than 25,000 tons of pharmaceuticals and supplies to healthcare facilities across Iraq.
  • Since liberation, the country has not faced a major public health crisis.
  • Three Facility Protective Services classes have trained over 2,200 personnel to protect health facilities.
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