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 Anatomy of a Killer: Iraqi Kurdistan

 Opinion — Analysis 
  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


Anatomy of a Killer: Iraqi Kurdistan ‎ 13.8.2012 
By Laween Atroshi  

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Laween Atroshi, UK Health Informatician & Ambassador For Peace (UPF)
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August 13, 2012

Piercing hot warmth blows in the region of Iraqi-Kurdistan. The warmth originates from a combination of factors, one being the natural innocence cultivated within Kurdish culture. The community, strong and united, share a common aim and trend; being that they do not plan for tomorrow and welcome each day with a smile. Due to their victimised history, as well as possessing a simplistic lifestyle, there is generally no planning for the future. Taking you 2000 miles away, there lies a society that lives for tomorrow. A society whose healthcare system prepares you for another day. In Western countries such as the UK, the healthcare system aims to be delivered under the patient centred model, whereby patients are made aware of their rights and are equally responsive to their treatment plans.

The Kurdish region thrives economically and socially, with oil erupting in the most peculiar of places. However, there is still an underlying condition that silently lurks in the background that can strike at any time. The underlying condition is the region’s healthcare system. It is accepted that the region is developing and that with every system there will always be flaws. However, it is important to discuss these flaws and collaboratively formulate a strategy.

One of the main issues is the lack of regulations whereby there is no performers list or form of effective monitoring of professionals. Another concern that I have observed is that a number of international professionals travel back to Kurdistan and open their own private clinics. Due to being business driven, they may breach good practice – i.e. see 20 patients at a time rather than one at a time, thus breaching patient dignity. I feel that a system must be adopted in a way that allows the Ministry of Health to report any potential malpractice cases to the host country’s regulator. For example, for the United Kingdom it would be the GMC after it has taken the necessary actions. Equally, I believe that there should be a platform whereby patients can check professionals’ credentials to see whether they in fact possess the qualifications that they pose they do.

The issue of the regulation of pharmaceutical medicines must also be considered. It is fair to say that the system can be strengthened by ensuring that there is an effective and robust medicine intelligence unit. This will analyse medicines and ensure that they are genuine and not expired. There must be a system that allows medical professionals to equally share concerns and ensure that these concerns are addressed i.e. compliance inspectors. Kurdistan is rich in prospective patient data that can be used to develop potential cures and which can also be explored for research purposes. However, there is no electronic healthcare system to capture this essential information. Therefore, it is fair to say that capacity planning and retrieval of results electronically are non-existent.

One of the main drivers for securing a better healthcare system is through creating a solid and effective scientific base. This can only be done through having a platform for continuing professional development and arranging conferences and links with different institutions. Each region shares a different strength and has different techniques according to their community base. In order to ensure best practice, this knowledge should be communicated and shared. This reformation requires as little as monthly video-conference meetings in order to be on track towards a healthcare revolution.
On the other hand, Kurdistan is willing to develop and has a wealth of experienced local talent. However, Kurdistan requires guidance. It may perhaps be fruitful for Kurdish healthcare authorities to set a link with foreign governments, in order to draw on their expertise in policy. This will then be combined with Kurdish local expertise in order to share best practice, which will then be localised to our communities. There is a lot of potential in Kurdistan. The fact that, as a region, we acknowledge that we face these challenges but wish to take steps to correct and reflect, promises a positive trajectory.

Laween Atroshi, UK Health Informatician & Ambassador For Peace (UPF). Laween Atroshi is not affiliated with any political party or organisations. Views and opinions are solely his own and do not reflect any organisation whom he has a direct or indirect affiliation with, either through employment or honorary. Laween Atroshi is a regular contributor to

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


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