Private sector to fund Iraq healthcare improvements

 

Rafee al-Rawi owns a medical devices supplier, an insurance company, a cardiovascular treatment centre in Baghdad and one of the few private pharmaceutical companies in Iraq, making him the country’s healthcare mogul.

Rawi and his business partners have put US$50 million into the Andalus Hospital and Specialised Cancer Treatment Centre, a 140,000 square-foot hospital on the eastern side of Baghdad. The hospital began accepting its first patients in 2018 and was expected to fully open in April 2020. Rawi estimates he and his business partners will invest another US$100 million in the hospital. The project is part of a joint venture with Healthcare Global Enterprises, the largest provider of cancer care in India.

The hospital has a mammography machine, PET and CT scanners to detect cancer and an MRI machine, expensive medical equipment in severely short supply across Iraq. 

Rawi’s cancer hospital receives government support. Iraq’s National Investment Commission grants business licenses and incentives to investors including waiving restrictions on foreign hiring, 15-year tax breaks and tax-free imports of medical equipment, all of which this project has benefited from.

The health ministry also hopes the hospital will save the government money it currently spends on a medical treatment programme to send certain patients abroad for diagnoses and treatments that are unavailable locally. Since 2013, the government has sent 14,500 patients abroad for cardiac, bone marrow and ophthalmology treatment.

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