People’s Concerns About Private and Public Hospital Services
People complain about the long wait's and the poor quality medicine at government-run hospitals, meanwhile, the private hospitals are criticized for having higher costs.
For many years, government-run hospitals have served as most of Kurdistan's population. They offer medical services and still work to provide medical treatment to the people across Kurdistan. These days, private hospitals offer high-quality medical services with semi-international standards, but their costs are high.
"I had a kidney operation, and I feel better now. The hospital is comfortable. All the medical services are good, but the prices are very high. Some poor people like me cannot afford that much. My cousins, a businessman, helped me with the costs," said Abdulbaqi, a patient at the Zheen International Hospital.
"The standards and quality of the hospital are very high. I think its services are very close to the neighboring countries' hospitals," said Dr. Aso Nuri Jalizada, a specialist in ears, noses, throats, and heads of Zheen International Hospital.
Patients visiting Zheen are registered in the hospital's computer system, and issued an ID card and assigned a room.
"One of the most important characteristics of the hospital is that our chief nurse and head nurse came from abroad under special contracts. They have been working for many years in Western countries," said Dr. Jalizada.
Ahmed Ali, a patient at the government-run Rizgary Hospital has a different opinion. "I know the nurses are very good people, but they don't perform their real responsibilities. They just give us medicines and injections now and then. While their tasks are to look after the patients, give us the right dose of medications, help us to eat and drink and other tasks."
Rizgary Hospital is one of Erbil's main hospitals. It was inaugurated Dec. 31, 1984 and since then has provided health services to those from in and around Erbil. The hospital has 493 beds.
"Patients get treatment, at Rizgary Hospital, under the supervision of Kurdish specialists. The patients come to Rizgary either after they have been seen by doctors at local health centers or advised by their personal doctors to visit Rizgary Hospital to get treatment," said Dr. Sirwan Dargalayi, Director of Rizgary Hospital.
Zheen's nurses are from India, the Philippines and other countries. "They have worked at an international standard. They help our local nurses who are new and do not have experience," said Dr. Jalizada.
Another important difference between Zheen and government-run or other private hospitals is it has modern incineration equipment to dispose of medical waste. This helps prevent pollution. Dr. Jalizada says the hospital has brought new techniques and procedures to Erbil. "We are pioneers in medical treatment in Erbil."
Discrepancy between people and hospitals
"Unfortunately, people do not cooperate with the administrative staff of the hospital. They disobey most of the regulations," said Dr. Dargalayi. The same problem occurs in Zheen. "People bring food and children into the hospital. This is 100 percent against our policy," said Dr. Jalizada.
A patient who visited Rizgary for medical treatment says it is a two-sided coin. The first side is hospital and the other is people. While state hospitals have problems, people don't help to keep the equipment running and the hospital clean, noted Dr. Dargalayi. He says people should try to raise their health awareness and help protect everyone else.
"If people had better health awareness, we would have fewer problems. People should have protect and maintain the medical supplies at the hospital," said Dr. Dargalayi. "We have signed a contract with Hiway Gal Company, which will clean the hospital. The cleaning company has been doing the job as well as it can."
People claim Rizgary Hospital's pharmacy doesn't work well. Dr. Dargalayi says there are misunderstandings between the doctors and the pharmacy. While the doctors have a list of medicines available, they still prescribe medications the pharmacy doesn't have- this leads people to blame the pharmacy.
People complain about the cost of medicine at private hospitals. "The quality of the medicines is of a high standard. For example, people can purchase a paracetamol [acetaminophen] outside for only 250 Iraqi dinars, while the same tablet is 1,500 Iraqi dinars here. So the difference is in the quality, not anything else," said Dr. Jalizada.
A physician treats a female patient in a public hospital in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region.