Rebuilding Iraq’s Healthcare System after Years of War

Iraq healthcare has received the brunt of war for almost the past 40 years. The country development has paid very little attention to healthcare, but focusing on other departments and leaving the health sector in crisis. Most hospitals have not staff and drugs to treat patients that are flocking in search of health services.

Some of the health sector failures are as a result of corruption, a vice that has spread across other Iraq departments. For instance, France Orange Company recently filed a claim in the U.S. against the directors of Korek Telecom Company who have been accused of misappropriating funds. Insecurity and lack of government prioritizing to fund the sector is the major hindrance. Lack of proper health care support from the government leaves Iraq citizens struggling with psycho-social traumas across the country and many dying of manageable health issues.

Let’s dig more about the Iraq rebuilding process of healthcare.

Lack of Funds

Over the years, the health care sector has struggled due to a small contribution it gets from the government, which is not enough to cater to the needs at hand. Last year, the sector received less than 3 percent, lower than its poorer neighboring countries. The security ministry received 18 percent, while the oil sector was given over 13 percent.

According to the World Health Organization WHO, the Iraq government has for a decade spent very little money in the health care sector. Since the end of the war, the government has demonstrated not concerned with enhancing the health sector. One of Iraq health Minister Mr. Alaa Alwan said to Reuters that his short service in the ministry of around one year was frustrating. Alwan saw how corruption was rife and getting threats from powerful figures that were opposed to his reform efforts.

In the year 1989, healthcare in Iraq was of high-class with highly trained physicians and specialists. In fact, by then, the health sector would get an annual budget of over $450 million before the war destroyed all the good history. What followed under the rule of Saddam Hussein is slowly killed the health sector and preventing medics from going for further studies abroad or for work.

The health care funding cut started when Iraq was given sanctions until its coffers run dry. The medic salary declined, poverty level shot up from 41% to 70%. The physician’s salary dropped from $3000 per month to as low as $2 per month. These changes of financial drop led to many practitioners seeking greener pastures in neighboring countries, U.S. A and Europe. The country domestic healthcare continued to fail in responding the needs of Iraqi citizens. Also, politics found its way in the sector and for year’s simple supply such as medical clean water, antiseptic, antibiotics and others are very hard to find in any hospital.

By 2003 the condition went from bad to worse until the U.N. concluded the case of Iraq could be compared to the world least developed countries.


The continued deterioration of the country’s healthcare has left the community sick and hopeless for lack of proper treatment to help them recover from violence impacts. For Iraq healthcare to stand again there is a need for a concerted effort from the Iraq government, international community, and non-governmental organization to focus on rebuilding new systems to protect citizens who are already vulnerable.

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