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Effect of social life on Health in 
Iraq 
Sarah Al-Obaydi M.B.Ch.B, MPH 
Fulbright scholar 
University of Utah
preface 
• All data presented here are taken from 
international non-profit organizations since Iraq 
lacks local agencies...
Iraq in a glance:
• Population: 31,672,000 
• Composition: Arabs (3/4), Kurds (1/5), 
Turkmen, Assyrians, Chaldeans, 
Armenians and many oth...
Health indicators: 
Indicator Iraq USA 
Life expectancy at birth m/f 
in Years 
62/70 76/81 
Infant mortality rate 31 7 
U...
A look at children’s health statistics: 
• Vaccination rate is ~ 80% 
• malnutrition ~ 27%
Health system in Iraq 
• Healthcare access in Iraq is a Right granted by 
the Iraqi constitution. 
• Generally all types o...
Healthcare sectors: 
• Public sector (governmental) 
• Private sector
Healthcare expenditure & workforce 
• Iraq spends 8.4% of its GDP on healthcare. 
• Healthcare workforce: 
Iraq U.S 
Physi...
Physician training 
• Lack of high quality graduate medical education 
programs.
Social determinants of health: 
Education 
HEALTH 
Income 
Race & 
Ethnicity 
Community
I. Income: 
• Generally income is considered 
low. 
• 7 million Iraqis are living below 
poverty line. 
• In 2011, 50% of ...
II. Education: 
• Adult literacy rate 78 
45% 
46% 
9% 
% primary school 
attendacne 
% secondary 
school attendance 
No a...
Health literacy 
• USA ~ 86% 
• Iraq Unknown
III. Community: 
• Environment: 
▫ Air: no safety & emission regulations 
▫ Water: poor sewage system 
▫ Food: no regulati...
III. Community: 
• Culture: 
▫ Tribes  more seen in rural areas 
▫ Early marriage (rural) 
▫ IPV 
▫ Stigmatization of som...
III. Community: 
• Religious beliefs: 
▫ Misinterpretation of Islamic religion and rules. 
▫ Concealed sexual relationship...
III. Community: 
• health policy regulations:
III. Community: 
• extraordinary situations: 
I. War(s) 
• Weakened the economy 
• Increased disability 
• Displacement 
•...
III. Community: 
II. Ongoing violence and political instability: 
• More disability 
• Increased the number of internally ...
Why physicians are leaving Iraq? 
• Lack of safety (threats, kidnaps, murders..etc) 
• Tribal law suits problems. 
• Abusi...
A look at the future? 
• Political stability is a major determinant of social 
life in Iraq 
• Need to improve infrastruct...
Questions?
Effect of social life on health in Iraq
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Effect of social life on health in Iraq

A view on the effect of social life on Health in Iraq by an Iraqi physician who worked for 3 years in different areas of Iraq..
A lecture given at the University of Utah/ college of social and behavioral science in February 2013

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Effect of social life on health in Iraq

  1. 1. Effect of social life on Health in Iraq Sarah Al-Obaydi M.B.Ch.B, MPH Fulbright scholar University of Utah
  2. 2. preface • All data presented here are taken from international non-profit organizations since Iraq lacks local agencies with creditable statistics.
  3. 3. Iraq in a glance:
  4. 4. • Population: 31,672,000 • Composition: Arabs (3/4), Kurds (1/5), Turkmen, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Armenians and many others. • Language: Arabic • Religion: Islam (75-80%), Christianity (mainly Catholic), Yazidis, Mandais, Jews.
  5. 5. Health indicators: Indicator Iraq USA Life expectancy at birth m/f in Years 62/70 76/81 Infant mortality rate 31 7 Under-five mortality rate per 1000 live births 39 8 Adult mortality rate per 1000 population 222 106 Maternal mortality ratio - Interagency estimates is /100,000 live births 63 21
  6. 6. A look at children’s health statistics: • Vaccination rate is ~ 80% • malnutrition ~ 27%
  7. 7. Health system in Iraq • Healthcare access in Iraq is a Right granted by the Iraqi constitution. • Generally all types of health care are provided. ▫ Primary care ▫ Specialty care ▫ Preventive care
  8. 8. Healthcare sectors: • Public sector (governmental) • Private sector
  9. 9. Healthcare expenditure & workforce • Iraq spends 8.4% of its GDP on healthcare. • Healthcare workforce: Iraq U.S Physicians per 10,000 population 6.9 24.2 Nurses and midwives per 10,000 population 13.8 98.2
  10. 10. Physician training • Lack of high quality graduate medical education programs.
  11. 11. Social determinants of health: Education HEALTH Income Race & Ethnicity Community
  12. 12. I. Income: • Generally income is considered low. • 7 million Iraqis are living below poverty line. • In 2011, 50% of Iraqis lived in slum conditions • Many Iraqis can not afford private healthcare.
  13. 13. II. Education: • Adult literacy rate 78 45% 46% 9% % primary school attendacne % secondary school attendance No attendance Males 46% 20% 34% Females
  14. 14. Health literacy • USA ~ 86% • Iraq Unknown
  15. 15. III. Community: • Environment: ▫ Air: no safety & emission regulations ▫ Water: poor sewage system ▫ Food: no regulations on restaurants
  16. 16. III. Community: • Culture: ▫ Tribes  more seen in rural areas ▫ Early marriage (rural) ▫ IPV ▫ Stigmatization of some diseases
  17. 17. III. Community: • Religious beliefs: ▫ Misinterpretation of Islamic religion and rules. ▫ Concealed sexual relationship increased STIs ▫ Spiritual healers
  18. 18. III. Community: • health policy regulations:
  19. 19. III. Community: • extraordinary situations: I. War(s) • Weakened the economy • Increased disability • Displacement • Psychological distress
  20. 20. III. Community: II. Ongoing violence and political instability: • More disability • Increased the number of internally displaced population • Many healthcare professionals fled Iraq
  21. 21. Why physicians are leaving Iraq? • Lack of safety (threats, kidnaps, murders..etc) • Tribal law suits problems. • Abusive governmental regulations & abuse of power. • Lack of respectful residents’ rest areas in hospitals.
  22. 22. A look at the future? • Political stability is a major determinant of social life in Iraq • Need to improve infrastructure • Need to build a strong public health system • Need to provide a safer, more respectful environment for physicians.
  23. 23. Questions?
  • muslimkhoja

    Feb. 25, 2016
  • safa318

    Dec. 10, 2014

A view on the effect of social life on Health in Iraq by an Iraqi physician who worked for 3 years in different areas of Iraq.. A lecture given at the University of Utah/ college of social and behavioral science in February 2013

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