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Iraqi government spends millions on medical treatment abroad

The Iraqi government is paying huge sums to help Iraqis travel abroad for medical treatment instead of allocating money to improve health care in the country.
Surgeons operate on a patient at the Ibn Bitar Hospital for Cardiac Surgery in Baghdad on July 9, 2011. It will be three years before doctors in Iraq can perform heart surgery on infants, doctors say, in a country where birth defects are high due to marriage within extended families. AFP PHOTO/ALI AL-SAADI (Photo credit should read ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)

The coordinator of a consulting firm specializing in providing medical treatment in India announced Nov. 15 on his Facebook page that he was coming to Iraq and provided his phone number so people could contact him and make arrangements for medical treatment. Al-Monitor tried calling on numerous occasions, but no one answered.

In the midst of a medical crisis forcing Iraqis to travel to various countries, most frequently India, to receive treatment, Iraqis have lost faith in the country’s medical services, which they see as lacking adequate technologies and thus proper care. They are therefore seeking treatment abroad in neighboring countries, including Jordan, Iran and Turkey. Indian hospitals, however, are the big winners in the competition to woo patients, due to their lower cost, followed by facilities in eastern European countries.

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