Ministry of Health officials from Duhok brief administration officials and lawmakers in Washington
Washington, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) – Officials from the Duhok General Directorate of Health Dr. Nezar Ismet Taib and Dr. Hoshyar Suleiman conducted a series of meetings in Washington to brief US lawmakers and officials on the challenges and risks facing the health sector in the Kurdistan Region.
The two officials joined Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman and KRG US Representation staff for a discussion on their work to provide health care for local Kurdistanis and people fleeing violence in Iraq and Syria. They highlighted the challenges facing hospitals and clinics in Kurdistan, especially with the additional burden of 1.8 million displaced Iraqis and Syrians, as well as Baghdad’s cutting of KRG’s share of the federal budget.
Representative Abdul Rahman accompanied the officials to Congress for meetings with Representative Marsha Blackburn, who co-chairs the Kurdish American Congressional Caucus, and later with Representative Brad Wenstrup. Dr. Taib, the Director General, and Dr. Suleiman, the Director of Planning, underscored the need for medicine and technical support to prevent the collapse of health services in Kurdistan.
The humanitarian crisis has vastly increased the demand on all health systems throughout Kurdistan. The doctors said that in Duhok, more than 70 per cent of patients are Syrian refugees or internally displaced Iraqis. Whereas in 2014 Duhok had eight doctors per 10,000 people, in 2016 that number had decreased to four. In addition to the civilians being treated, hospitals in Kurdistan treat injured Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces.
Dr. Taib and Dr. Suleiman also met with officials from key bureaus at the State Department for a discussion on the severity of the situation and how the US can assist.