What new elements, technologies, or standards is KCH bringing to this market?
The current options for children’s healthcare in Kurdistan are limited. The fact that there is no integrated primary, secondary, or tertiary care available means there is also a lack of specialized neonatal and childhood healthcare. Antenatal diagnosis and management are also lacking, and there are no fetal maternal specialists. The result of this is that many patients go to neighboring countries or Europe for treatment, which can be very costly, both emotionally and financially. With the KCH, we are trying to address some of these deficiencies and provide specialized health teams to improve the current healthcare options. We are trying to bring pediatric healthcare options into line with international healthcare standards, thus minimizing the need to go abroad for treatment.

What have been some of the major challenges to opening KCH? How did KCH address these challenges?
Lack of specialized skills is a major challenge in Kurdistan, especially with nursing and specialized surgical skills. We intend to provide training to upgrade the skills of our local staff. However, to jumpstart KCH, we are employing specialized nurses from abroad. We will also be relying on specialized clinicians and surgeons, primarily from the UK, as visiting teams to provide clinical services, as well as training and education opportunities for the local staff.

What are some of the major challenges facing Kurdistan’s healthcare system?
The major challenges are the lack of regulatory infrastructure, established standards, and mechanisms for enforcing these standards. KCH will have an in-service education centre and will provide training to meet international standards of care. The Hospital will have an organization to manage clinical risks and make sure that policies and procedures to provide the highest and safest standard of care are adhered to. This is necessary to ensure the high quality of care provided.

Can you tell us about the partnerships that KCH has with foreign healthcare and donor organization?
Our relations with UK-based health organizations, such as the Sheffield Children's Hospital, the royal colleges, and professional organizations, such as the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, will help to maintain high standards of care through regular visits, training, and quality control processes. In order to achieve our stated mission, we need to strengthen these relations. Individual donoand organizations will find a worthwhile partner in Kurdistan Children’s Hospital.

How do you foresee the evolution of healthcare sector in Kurdistan in the medium term?
Despite the challenges and the difficulties, I am optimistic that there will be major improvements in the healthcare system in Kurdistan in the medium term. One of the priorities of KRG is to improve the healthcare system through radical reform and providing the funds to achieve tangible reforms in the quality and the scope of the healthcare available. I am sure that the current situation, where patients often go abroad for treatment, will decrease as high quality care will be available within Kurdistan. Our hospital will have contributed to this improvement through the setting of standards and its role as a benchmark for other hospitals.