Iraq’s health per capita expenditure lowest among neighboring states

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By Zeena Sami

Azzaman, January 15, 2013

Iraq’s expenditures on health are the lowest in the region, the parliamentary commission on health and environment has revealed.

The commission’s head Jawad al-Bazoni said Iraqi health allocations were still far below those in neighboring states and the country suffered from a drastic shortage of medical consultants.

“Iraq’s health per capita expenditure is $170 per annum while it is $500 in neighboring Jordan,” Bazoni said.

He said the low per capita expenditure on health was the main reason for the lack of proper health services.

“We are lacking behind when it comes to health per capita income and this boomerangs negatively on the health of Iraqi citizens,” he said.

Iraq used to have one of the best health systems in the region in late 1980s. It is medical schools and colleges were graded as the most efficient in the Middle East, with students from various Arab countries enrolling in Iraqi universities.

For many years, Iraq supplied medical personnel to countries like Jordan and Arab Gulf states.

But lack of medical specializations has forced the country to rely on foreign doctors and nurses.

The Health Ministry has struck a deal with India for the employment of more than 1,000 Indian nurses in Iraqi hospitals.