Iraqi health minister resigns; integrity and corruption incompatible

Iraqi health minister resigns; integrity and corruption incompatible

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Researcher Shatha Khalil *

Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi

The Iraqi Minister of Health, Alaa al-Din Alwan, is one of the technocratic ministers in the Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s government and does not belong to any political party. He resigns after a continuous effort to reform and rebuild the health system in Iraq.
On 12-9-2019, Alwan presented his resignation, which was a cry of protest against the pressures, extortion and defamation suffered by the corrupt .He was assigned as the Minister of Health on October 24, 2018, who was a believer in the reform work of the government, and in order to re-establish a solid vision and a clear road map to improve health conditions and the environment, and to work resolutely to meet and face the challenges, accumulated since the past three decades, financial and administrative corruption that has exhausted the management of the health sector in Iraq.
Alwan’s policy was characterized by a successful future vision, reliance on sound planning in identifying the problem, and developing appropriate solutions to the exceptional circumstances experienced by Iraq, as Alwan relies on strategic guidance in the fight against administrative corruption that prevailed in the Iraqi Ministry of Health, in light of the difficult financial funding , and great challenges in fighting corruption and corrupt in this vital sector.
One of the most important achievements of the Minister of Health Alaa Eddin Alwan, which was planned in a thoughtful scientific manner, clear strategy, and scientific methodology, unprecedented by any one before him , in the start of the reform process adopted by him , despite the short period in which he took over the management of the ministry, where the Ministry prepared a review and in-depth study of Health status and to identify challenges.
.The review was based on a scientific study of health indicators, and a specialized evaluation of the basic health programs of the ministry, with the participation of a large number of consultants from inside and outside Iraq, in addition to experts of international organizations leading health work in the world.
. Presented a document issued by the Ministry of Health and Environment in May 2019 that accurately diagnoses the health situation in Iraq, and where the real weaknesses and dysfunctions of the tragic state of health lies , including the low priority of health in government allocations, lack of spending on health, and serious decline in the services provided to the Iraqi citizen who lives in the richest country of the world.
• The document also provided a comprehensive strategic vision and roadmap for health system reform in Iraq, and if implemented and applied on the ground, it could have been the cornerstone for lifting the low health reality.
• Basra province .. A comprehensive study has been prepared to assess the health situation in the province, and how to address the persistent contaminants of well water in Iraq, where for the first time, an integrated database for the contaminated sectors has been prepared, specifying the quality, quantity and source of waste and sewage being dumped in wells, and preparing a comprehensive national plan to reduce water resources pollutants started by some government sectors during the past months with the support of the Council of Ministers.
• Establishing a mechanism to monitor the pollution of the Tigris, Euphrates and Shatt al-Arab rivers, which work periodically every month, based on tests conducted by Ministry of Health laboratories periodically, and the government was acquainted about the achievements during the first six months of its work.
• He worked to achieve drug security, where the ministry worked under the management of Alwan to provide medicines for emergency life-saving needs, most of which have been absent from health institutions for several years, through the organization of the pharmaceutical sector, and the supply of medicines to get out of sudden dangerous drug crises, which the Ministry has come a long way to achieve the flow of medicines where the Ministry of Health has initiated, in cooperation with other sectors, border outlets, customs, security institutions and the pharmacy union, to implement an integrated plan to deal with drug chaos in the private sector, including control of border outlets, and taking new patents and methods in the registration of medicines and companies and pricing of medicines, and strengthen the inspection and monitoring devices to preserve the life of the Iraqi citizen.
• Resumption of work in the major hospitals (Turkish and German) that have been contracted for more than ten years, which faced problems that led to a complete cessation of work in the past four years.
• The period of Alwan management of the ministry was characterized by high professionalism, despite the challenges that threaten the national security of the country.
• Addressing the misuse of public funds, resisting administrative corruption and strengthening the fair administration of the Ministry.
• During the minister’s work, the Ministry, with the support of the Council of Ministers, removed the financial burdens that citizens pay for health services by abolishing most of the wages, which were imposed in previous years, which was a major impediment and financial burden for the poor Iraqi citizen to receive health service.
• The Ministry started preparing the health insurance project with the Health and Environment Committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives.
The most important obstacles facing his ministerial work :
-Political interventions and pressures in the work of the ministry.
– Those whose interest is incompatible with this reform and change.
• Those who do not want Iraq to rise and return to its prestigious position among the countries of the region in its scientific achievements and innovation.
-Those affected by this reform and the transparency of good work who resorted to cheap means by distorting the facts in the media and social media pages and used all their tools to stop the reform process of the health sector, as it is contrary to their corrupt ambitions to destroy Iraq and the people.
Al-Alwan said: I reached a firm conviction that it would not be possible to continue working in these circumstances, and my resignation actually started last Thursday (September 12, 2019).
Alwan had submitted his resignation on February 19, 2019, but the prime minister refused the resignation , and a number of heads of political forces persuaded him to step down as well.
Al-Alwan said: I reached a firm conviction that it is not possible to continue working in these circumstances, and thanked Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi for his trust and recommendations and continued support for the health and environmental sector, and for backing him personally during the performance of his work in the past months, and this indicates his keenness and integrity and not sticking to the position. The gangs of corruption and destruction did not give the professional and impartial minister the opportunity to work and clean the health from distortion and corruption and save the Iraqis.
The resignation of Health Minister Alaeddin Alwan, confirms the integrity and professionalism of the minister, which is incompatible with the party and the power of the corrupt and control over important joints in the Iraqi state.
But what to do? Will it be the corrupt who control the country’s capabilities? When do we get up with Iraq?
Aladdin Alwan is an honorable example that needs support and cooperation to continue the march of reform, and to be followed as an example by honorable people.. We need to join together all honorable and loyal people to change the bitter reality, and amputate the hands of evil that tamper with the honest and honorable people.. To stand together against evil…

Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies