Around 30 years ago, UNICEF statistics called Iraq “one of the best countries in which to be a child”. The child mortality rate was the second-lowest in the world and healthcare facilities were among the best in the Middle East.
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However, following a rather turbulent recent history, the state of Iraq’s healthcare system has substantially deteriorated. Malnutrition and diseases such as cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, and malaria have become common.
International organizations and funds are joining in to help restore the former glory of the Iraqi healthcare system. Earlier this month, the World Bank announced a financial assistance project worth US$350 million to rebuild the economy of the war-torn country. The first year of the project is dedicated to improving healthcare services in Iraq by supporting clinics and mobile hospitals, ambulances, and medical equipment.
Transparency Market Research, in a recent report, studies the various internal forces that can support the healthcare and surgical procedures market in Iraq.
Escalating Cases of Diabetes and CVD Heightening Demand for Surgical Procedures
One of the main factors that has helped revive the Iraq healthcare industry is government support. Beneficial spending on healthcare facilities has not only accelerated the growth of the surgical procedures in the country but also triggered the expansion of the healthcare market.
The prevalence of diseases such as hypertension, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is another factor that can aid the growth of the healthcare market in Iraq. Increased prevalence of chronic diseases translates into higher number of surgeries. The healthcare market in Iraq can be segmented on the basis of surgical procedures into orthopedic surgeries, general surgeries, neurosurgeries, reconstructive surgeries, and cardiac surgeries. According to the TMR report, cardiac surgeries generated more than US$100 million in 2013 owing to the rise in cardiovascular diseases in the country.
As mentioned earlier, the increased prevalence of diabetes is a key factor fueling the demand for surgical procedures in Iraq. According to the Iraqi Diabetes Association (IDA), of the 387 million diabetic patients around the world in 2014, 37 million were from Iraq. This is expected to rise to 68 million by 2035. In 2014 alone, an approximate 1.2 million cases of diabetes were newly diagnosed, heightening the demand for healthcare services in the country.
Strong Vendor Landscape Continues to Characterize Iraq Healthcare Industry
Iraq’s centralized healthcare system has two main players: The private sector and the public sector. Together they follow a capital-intensive model of preventive as well as curative care.
Being a highly competitive market not so long ago, the Iraq healthcare industry sees the strong presence of several medical device suppliers and manufacturers. The fragmented nature of the vendor landscape, however, indicates that there is no clear leader. The various players operating at a regional and global level include Medtronic, Inc., Applied Medical Corporation, Minas Company, Aesculap, Inc., TeknoMed Company, Rudolf Riester GmbH, Albanna Group, Goran Group, St. Jude Medical, Inc., Munir Sukhtian Group Company, Koninklijke Philips N.V., Maquet Holding B.V. & Co. KG, Al Assad Scientific Bureau, Siemens Healthcare, Stryker Corporation, and Ismailiya Medical Co.
The constant economic and political turmoil in Iraq over the past decade or so has severely impacted the healthcare system in the country. However, with the help of the government, international bodies, and competitive nature of the market players, the region that was once considered to be “one of the most advanced” healthcare systems in the Middle East, hopes to restrengthen its position in the global healthcare industry.
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