waiting in line for lifesaving heart surgery
in pursuit of peace between communities at odds.
The headline answers usually cite corruption, ethnic conflict and terrorism. In our paper, 5 Ways to Destroy a Nation’s Healthcare System, we expand a bit on those popular answers to include a few less discussed factors.
Thirteen years of comprehensive (some say violent) sanctions by the United Nations impoverished the state of Iraq–leading to a complete collapse of its excellent, but highly centralized medical system. Embargoes on medical supplies and equipment for rebuilding hospitals exacerbated the problem and prevented Iraqis from slowing the effects of sanctions and warfare. So instead of thirty years of growth, the last three decades years of Iraqi medical care have been deterioration, destruction, and decay.
This inability to treat even the most normal case load of patients–combined with higher rates of birth defects in Iraq and the naturally long course of congenital heart disease–has led to a bottleneck of children who need lifesaving heart surgery. We call it The Backlog and we live and work in Iraq equipping Iraqi heart surgery teams until they are able to do it alone.
Claims of denying treatment to 80 children per day in one Baghdad hospital.1
~3,000 known children in the northern Kurdish Region waiting for surgery.
~Up to 11,000 children added to the backlog each year.2, 3
Our plan doubles children served inside Iraq by the end of 2013.