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POLICY: Email from Baghdad

By JOHN IRVINE

“Iraqi troops injured in the fighting must pay their own way at civilian hospitals as the  Iraqi military has no military hospitals of its own …” Marketplace reports this morning.

I’ve seen plenty of TV footage of Iraqi troops being treated by U.S.forces, but this certainly raises a question about what the official policy is. If it’s true, it’s outrageous.

The audio is here.

I emailed Iraqi blogger Zeyad about this story earlier this morning. Zeyads runs the excellent Healing Iraq blog. (As it happens, Zeyad is the author of an good piece on official corruption in the Iraqi healthcare system which ran on the Guardian’s web site recently.) 

Here was his response to my email:

Indeed, Iraq’s only military hospital (the Rasheed hospital south of Baghdad) was destroyed in the war and was never rebuilt.  As far as I know, there is a temporary facility set up to treat Iraqi soldiers at the Taji military base north of Baghdad. Most of the time, though, Iraqi soldiers are treated for emergencies at civilian hospitals all over the country, except during joint operations with Americans. This is what I know and I may be wrong.

You should read Zeyad’s take on working at an Iraqi clinic. It’s really good.

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