Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good News from Iraq: 20 Jan 2009

From MNF-I, Abu Ghraib Hospital Symbol of Success.

ABU GHRAIB — The once war-ravished Abu Ghraib Hospital, west of Baghdad, is slowly but surely gaining new life. What was once one crumbling building is now a sprawling complex, boasting new equipment to better care for the hundreds of thousands of people who live in the city.

Approximately $3 million was spent by five different sources for approximately 20 different refurbishment and building projects.

“The most difficult part of this whole operation was getting the different funding organizations together to synchronize their efforts,” said Keith Parker, senior public health advisor for the embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.

Projects were funded by the International Relief and Development Organization, Commander’s Emergency Response Program, Iraq-CERP, Quick Response Fund and the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Health.

Parker said the MoH now funds more than half of the projects.

The man behind the coordination of all the organizations was Dr. Naja Nouri, the hospital’s director. Since the beginning of the projects, Nouri has overseen the progress to ensure each was completed in a timely manner and with the quality he said he expects from a hospital.

“How can I not know what is going on here?” he asked. “It is important for me, as the hospital director, to make sure each project is done right so we can give the best care possible.”

Parker stressed the importance of Nouri’s oversight as well as regular inspections by the MoH engineers.

“The MoH engineers are really great,” he said. “They increase the quality of work and really ensure the work is done to proper standards.”

Parker said he hopes this hospital’s success is a model for other hospitals in the area.

“Change is difficult,” he said, “but the process is slowly shifting to the right people at the right levels of government. This is what needs to happen to slowly take the U.S. out of the picture. This is their time to shine.”