Oct 14 2012
By Ali Al-Fiyadh
Azzaman, October 14, 2012
Iraq, a country which used to export medical personnel to other states, is relying more and more on foreign doctors.
The health system, despite massive allocations, has still not recovered and in certain specializations and consultancies there are not enough Iraqi medical specialists to support the system.
Prior to the 2003-U.S. invasion and despite the then crippling U.N. trade sanction Iraqi consultants attracted patients from across the Middle East.
But many of the country’s big medical minds have fled due to the upsurge in violence that immediately followed the U.S. invasion.
As a result, the Health Ministry says there is a shortage of doctors particularly for major operations and that the dearth of personnel has compelled it to employ foreign doctors.
Today, foreign medical doctors are present in many Iraqi hospitals. Even the presence of foreign nurses is no longer unusual.
But the influx of foreign doctors, among them scores of Iranian medical specialists, is leading to both tension and alienation on the part of local staff.
Foreign doctors and nurses are usually better paid and given extra perks and privileges than their Iraqi counterparts.
But in special areas there are simply no Iraqi doctors left to do the job.
Only last month, the health authorities in the southern Province of Wasit struck a deal with many Iranian medical specialists as provincial hospitals had stopped performing operations due to lack of specialized personnel.
The authorities have been criticized for bringing in Iranians to Iraqi hospital but they retort that the measure is primarily meant to save lives.
Iranian medical personnel in Iraq get up to $3500 a month.
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