17 Apr 2014

Rudaw - New Sulaimani Hospital Brings International Standards to Kurdistan

Iraq has its first hospital built and working to international standards. Faruk Medical City (FMC), built by one of Iraqi Kurdistan’s richest men, was opened in the region’s second city, Sulaimani, for patients from all over Iraq. 

“Once Iraq had the best doctors and hospitals of the region, but now we are back to just after the invention of the wheel,’’ said the chief medical officer of FMC, Firya Peryadi. “We need to revitalize the medical sector. With this hospital we bring something to make us proud and to attract good doctors to come back to their country.”

The poor state of medical care in Iraq was reason for Sulaimani businessman Faruk Mustafa Rasool to build this 210 bed hospital, with 53 clinics and 24 specialists. 

Its slogan being “Excellence in Human Care,” it combines the newest technology with a modern and luxurious environment and doctors who were educated and built their experience in the West.

Most of the 120 doctors employed at FMC are Iraqis, and Kurds who earned their professional wings outside the country. Peryadi, a surgeon from Kirkuk who himself worked in Norway, proudly announced that three European doctors will join his team, too.

Peryadi said the hospital, in comparison to Western ones, is “extremely fancy.” Indeed, it would be hard to find any hospital in the West that has three presidential suites, rooms with dining and sitting areas and 21 suites with sitting rooms.

The presidential suite would be fitting for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is rumored to be soon returning to his hometown of Sulaimani from Germany, where he has been nursed since his stroke in late 2012. 

When asked if that could happen, an official just answered that Talabani’s situation “is too sensitive an issue.” 

Talabani’s wife Hero Ibrahim, now one of the main leaders of Kurdistan’s second ruling party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), opened the hospital, in the presence of their son and Minister of Development Qubad Talabani.

Unlike in most hospitals in Iraq, the role of the family in nursing and feeding the patients will be almost zero, as FMC has 400 nurses to look after the patients. They are mainly from the Philippines and India and have been working and training at the hospital for the past two months, as one of them declared.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served for patients and those who accompany them, and every floor has sitting rooms for family members of the patients. A cafeteria on the ground floor is open for patients and their guests.

A luxury hotel was opened next door last year to accommodate those who want to stay with patients and come from far.

Another striking difference with other medical institutions in the region is the cleanliness of the hospital. 

An experienced Turkish company is managing the hospital, and a specialist company from Jordan put in software developed in the USA that will manage patient files – another first in a country where patients shop around for medical care and patient files are not shared, if they even are made.

Leading physician Peryadi promised the audience of VIP’s and others, amongst them Kurdish Minister of Health Rekawt Rashid, that FMC will “change realities and medical practices, to bring back those patients that now travel abroad for medical care.”

For young doctors, the FMC offers teaching facilities, including an advanced audiovisual system that allows them to watch operations in 3D as they are being performed in the operating room. Small cameras follow the work of the surgeons as they probe patients’ bodies.

For those who are operated or whose life is in danger, the hospital offers intensive care to an international level, with six beds for open-heart intensive care, six for general intensive care and six coronary care beds. For prematurely born babies, five neonatal intensive care beds have been reserved.

As part of the policies and vision of its founder Faruk, a former communist, patients will be taken in on hardship basis too. Even before the opening, a “humanitarian case” was accepted, as CEO Hawre Daro of the Faruk Holding, who was in charge of building the medical centre, revealed.

“It concerns a man from Kirkuk who is in risk of becoming paralyzed after getting injured,” he said, announcing that this patient will be the first to be operated on in one of the 11 operating rooms at the new facility. Other operations are planned to start only a week after the opening.
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