After decades of war, sanctions, and occupation, Iraq's health services are struggling to regain lost momentum. Many skilled health workers have moved to other countries, and young graduates continue to leave. In spite of much rebuilding, health infrastructure is not fully restored. National development plans call for a realignment of the health system with primary health care as the basis. Yet the health-care system continues to be centralised and focused on hospitals. These development plans also call for the introduction of private health care as a major force in the health sector, but much needs to be done before policies to support this change are in place. New initiatives include an active programme to match access to health services with the location and needs of the population.
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