The Iraqi Ministry of Health started the process of building 32 new hospitals on Thursday (September 29th) in various Iraqi provinces.
Ministry officials said the hospitals would have 400 beds each and be supplied with the latest medical devices and laboratories. Seven hospitals will be dedicated to treat cancer and one to mental illness.
Dr. Jassib Latif, general manager of the Ministry of Health's planning and development department, said in a press conference that the "construction of these hospitals will not exceed 30 months, and some will be built before the end of next year".
Turkey's Universal and Germany's GMG will build the hospitals in cooperation with local Iraqi companies.
Latif said the hospitals would feature emergency, pediatric and burns units, operating rooms equipped with the latest medical devices, obstetric rooms, and prosthetic limbs units. They will also include consultancy units for cardiac and internal medicine diseases, dentistry and other areas of specialization.
All hospitals will provide their services free of charge.
"The hospitals will be built in cities that lack modern and specialized hospitals, especially in remote areas that are located away from provincial centers and in densely populated districts and sub-districts," Latif said.
Ahmed Abdul Karim Hammoudi of the inspector general office at the Ministry of Health said the final cost of the projects might exceed $5 billion.
"The Iraqi government has paid 20 percent of the total cost to the executing companies upon the start of building," Hammoudi told Mawtani. "It will pay the remaining amount on a regular basis upon the end of each stage of building."
Hammoudi said the ministry used the modern designs of German hospitals built a few years ago as the basis for the new hospitals.
"The designs of cancer hospitals, which will be built in Baghdad, Fallujah, Basra, Mosul, Wasit, Diyala and Najaf, will be different, given their specialized nature," he said. "Meanwhile, the mental disorders hospital will be the first of its type in the Arab region."
Ministry of Health spokesperson Ziad Tariq told Mawtani that the new hospitals would provide many job opportunities for Iraqi citizens.
"The new jobs will include doctors, nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists and service workers," Tariq said.
A few days ago, the ministry announced the creation of 10,000 new jobs in all provinces with the aim of filling shortages at health institutions.
A total of 7,500 jobs were allocated to the nursing sector, while the remainder will be for supporting roles at various ministry institutions. Fifty percent of the new jobs are allocated to women.
Jenan al-Obeidi, a member of the health committee in the Iraqi parliament, said her committee was monitoring the work of the Ministry of Health in executing the new projects, "which are considered the biggest of their type in Iraq".
"The new hospitals will solve the problems of patient congestion, shortcomings in services, and slow responses in emergency situations because of the lack of hospitals and the increase of patients, especially during terrorist attacks," al-Obeidi told Mawtani.
"The Iraqi people deserve more than that," she said. "We look forward to executing bigger projects in the health sector to provide the best services for citizens."