State of the art centers to save newborns in Iraq

GE Healthcare and the Iraqi Ministry of Health have signed an agreement to build 22 Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICU) across the country. This will help to provide life-saving care to the country’s most vulnerable population every day. It aims to provide outstanding, holistic, and infant focused care that is equipped to deal with neonatal emergencies and common neonatal conditions. 

Utilizing a flexible and collaborative partnership approach, each unit will be designed and developed to focus on providing much-needed attention to high-risk newborns, some with multiple medical conditions. Critically, access will be improved across the country: each province in Iraq will be served by an NICU, with three in the capital of Baghdad. 

The government of Iraq has set a reduction in infant mortality rates as one of its top priorities. Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn deaths all over Iraq. According to the annual report of the Iraqi Ministry of Health, more than 13,000 infants died in the country in 2020. In Mosul alone, the rate is more than 1,000 deaths in one year. 

Drawing on deep domain expertise and a track record of healthcare innovation, GE Healthcare will provide full technology, including incubators, warmers, ultrasound machines, mobile x-ray units, baby ventilators, and monitors customized to NICU requirements. 

GE Healthcare is also helping the 22 turnkey projects come to fruition through global financing institutes and will be enabling implementation excellence with the Units’ design, strategy, and staff training. Through part of the intensive training program, trainers will be taught and then certified to provide training to other staff members based on international standards, with the aim of developing and enhancing the competency and capabilities of the NICU medical staff. This is a true partnership that will have a direct impact on the people of Iraq, in one of the most difficult times a family can go through. 

Dr. Ali Al-Baldawi Director General of Kimadia at the Iraqi Ministry of Health said, “This project will enable us to provide the latest solutions and healthcare technologies to premature and newborn infants. We will focus on the training and development of our Iraqi staff to be able to use these high-tech global solutions to help save lives. All teams have put in tremendous effort to reach this point, and we are so proud of this partnership.” 

Ehab Zawaideh General Manager, GE Healthcare Middle East, said, “We have been a partner to Iraq for many decades, through both good times and challenging times. This project is a great example of how GE Healthcare can partner with the Ministry to provide critical, large-scale turnkey facilities that the whole country can access. This is a significant step forward that all Iraqi families can benefit from. With the Ministry of Health’s partnership, we will also provide the right training to be able to give the best patient care available, with the aim of saving infant lives.”

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