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Iraq: Health Services

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 15 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government has taken to assist the Iraqi government in developing health care services since 2003. (205287)

Since 2003, the UK has contributed a total of £70 million to the United Nations and World Bank Trust Funds for Iraq, which together are spending over $180 million to repair hospitals, train health care staff and improve nutrition. The UK has also contributed £5 million to the World Health Organisation, which has helped fund emergency medical supplies, supported clinics and hospitals in Baghdad and Basra, and supports the Government of Iraq’s Health Sector Working Group.

The UK has contributed £49 million to international agencies to support protection and emergency assistance activities in Iraq. This has included the provision of urgently needed medical supplies and improving health facilities, including physical rehabilitation and training for staff.

Since 2003, the UK’s financial assistance has helped contribute to the rehabilitation or equipping of over 1,000 health care facilities and the training of over 6,000 staff.

In addition to DFID’s financial assistance, the UK Department of Health is providing £5 million to fund the Iraqi Clinical Training Project—designed to update the skills of around 400 clinicians and managers in the Iraqi health service by providing eight week training attachments in the UK. Initial feedback from the Iraqi Ministry of Health Inspectorate General is strongly positive in terms of the actions and impact that the returning clinicians have begun to make.

DFID’s wider priority is to support the Iraqi Government to spend its considerable oil wealth more effectively—to provide sustained improvements to the lives of the Iraqi people. We are therefore assisting both central and local government institutions to manage and disburse their finances—which will then allow the Iraqi Government to take a lead in improving their own health care services.