Iraq cancels free healthcare system

Monday, 25 January 2016

Iraqi citizens are now being asked for fees at healthcare facilities around the country, a source at the Ministry of Health has informed Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The oil-rich country has offered a free healthcare system since 1970.

The source said the ministry sent letters and a 10-page report to hospitals and clinic asking them to collect fees from patients to cover the cost of treatment after the deficit caused by the sharp decline in oil prices.

Many have warned that this could lead to a dangerous situation in public health due to the sever poverty in the country.

The ministry is looking into pricing medicines and services across the country.

Iraqis expressed their angry with the decision amidst the difficult economic situation which they are facing.

Patient Raghib Hassan said: “During my visit to a government hospital in Baghdad, I was surprised that I was asked to pay for the medical examination, x-ray, medical tests and treatment.”

“This means that one visit to a government hospital needs between 30,000 to 50,000 [Iraqi] dinars ($27-$45).”

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/23531-iraq-cancels-free-healthcare-system.

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