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Healthcare in the Kurdistan region faces major challenges, after years of the region being neglected and oppressed by the central government, we are currently on the road to recovery, inheriting a system with very little infrastructure that has been rebuilt from the ground up. The KRG is currently devising a realistic blueprint for the region to help in knitting the healthcare system together.

We believe in a model of public-private cooperation as a major stepping-stone in revitalising the healthcare system in Kurdistan. 

The aim of the government is to make healthcare more efficient and economical. There has been a lack of investment in this sector thus far $195 Million has been invested in around 17 projects in the region. Developments such as the Multi-million dollar state of the art diagnostic centre and a cardiac hospital have been successful in providing high standard treatment in the region. Medya Diagnostic centre is the first laboratory in the region to achieve international accreditation as a quality provider of medical testing under ISO 15189. A driving force behind these initiatives is a great need to raise and impose standards of healthcare across the region.

Investment law helps health specialists to start their own private clinics, hospitals and pharmaceutical plants a big incentive behind this is the incentive of land ownership. This enables private sector to provide services that are currently not available in the public sector, we are aware of the risk of this strategy causing a divide between what the rich and poor can afford but if we start from the ground up eventually the public sector will be able to provide the high quality tertiary care, creating health competition between the private and public sector.

With outside assistance the sector can be brought back on its feet, KRG signed an agreement with Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to improve maternal and neonatal healthcare in Kurdistan through education and setting the clinical standards for the region. With the establishment of this partnership, the sector has received valuable, workshops and training courses for health specialists.

The Ministry of Health is currently looking at ways to restructure the budget, when the system was first established it was structured on providing free national health service for all in the current climate this is not possible. The budget being shifted from secondary and tertiary care to public and primary care as 95% of the population use rudimentary primary healthcare, however these hospitals and health care centres need well trained staff and enhanced equipment to be able to help provide a better service to patients, with 466 primary health care centres this is no small task.

The reduction of bureaucratic power in the regards to healthcare in the region has helped local and regional health officials to make decisions on the day-day running of the sector leaving the more senior officials to deal with the strategic planning of department, allowing the sector to run more efficiently. With this the sector has seen the development of professional vaccination programmes, childcare, training doctors and nurses.

The region has launched a public awareness campaign on health issues through television commercials, warning people about the dangers of smoking, advising them to keep medicines out of reach of children, obesity etc. Along with weekly programmes on local TV about health and nutrition hosted by specialist who answer viewers questions, this drive by the government has enabled its citizens to become more aware of health scares and threats.