In a demonstration of their strong partnership and joint commitment to strengthening primary health care throughout Iraq, USAID/PHCPI and the Ministry of Health (MoH) held a three-day national workshop entitled “The Development of Primary Health Care is the Optimal Investment to Improve the Health Situation in Iraq” from January 21-23, 2012. The workshop was hosted under the patronage of and presided over by the Iraqi Minister of Health.
More than 400 participants attended the event, including representatives from the UN, WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), KEMADIA, and the KRG. The MoH had representatives from every level of the health sector, including the MoH central level, director generals and section managers from the Public Health, Technical Affairs, Administration, Inspection, and Planning Departments, provincial and district health managers, and managers of primary health care (PHC) clinics.
During the first two days of the conference, the participants formed nine working groups to discuss the major issues and challenges facing PHC in Iraq at this time. These topics included 1) health of children under five, 2) women’s health, 3) health promotion, 4) family medicine and the health visitor program, 5) health inspection and proper sanitation, 6) disease surveillance, 7) oral health services, 8) pharmaceutical management, and 9) planning and supervision.
The third day of the conference saw major addresses delivered by several key players in health sector reform in Iraq. The Minister of Health addressed the importance of building an effective, up-to-date health system in Iraq that can cope with any and all epidemic and demographic variables it faces. He expressed his full support of the objectives and activities of the PHCPI, and extended his appreciation of the work undertaken by the project thus far.
USAID Deputy Mission Director Mr. Alex Depreze spoke about USAID’s vision for the next three years for mutual collaboration with the Government of Iraq to help Iraq in achieving its Millennium Development Goals 4&5 (reducing maternal mortality and infant and child mortality through improved services). “The results achieved in the workshop reaffirm the close relationship and mutual understanding between the Public Health Directorate and the USAID-sponsored Primary Health Care Project. The outcomes achieved over the past three years will provide a clear way forward for the coming three years and provide a roadmap for project implementation. These results demonstrate the true partnership of our governments in paving the way for improved healthcare outcomes for the people of Iraq,” Mr. Depreze said.
This National PHC Workshop served as a strong platform for the promotion of PHC in Iraq, and USAID/PHCPI is eager to continue its efforts in improving PHC services with the support of all those involved.