SULAIMANI (ESTA) – Several hospitals in Sulaimani province are at risk of being closed due to the ongoing shortage of medicine in the Kurdistan Region, deputy director of health Hersh Said Salim told Esta Media Network on Wednesday.
Lack of medicine and medical equipment at Sulaimani hospitals occurred in April 2021 after the Ministry of Finance increased tax rate paid by the medical companies to 2%.
“Several needed medication and health equipment at Sulaimani’s emergency departments are about to end,” Salim said.
According Salim, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) owes a lot of money to the medicine companies. “The companies are not ready to sign contracts with the government to import medicine, fearing that they will not be paid back.”
Salim expressed concerns “hospitals will turn to hotels” due to a lack of medicine.
Spokesman of KRG’s Health Ministry Aso Hawezi told Esta Media Network that all the other provinces are facing shortages of medicine due to the current expenditure priorities of the government.
“Salaries of public employees has become the KRG’s priority, that is why there is a lack of medicine,” Hawezi said.
The governorate of Sulaimani has seen medicine shortages in the past three months.
Pharmaceutical companies on February 16 threatened they would halt the supply of medicine to the directorate of health in Sulaimani due to accumulation of debts on the Kurdish government.
Representatives of the pharmaceutical companies protested in Sulaimani against government’s failure to repay their debt, saying they would not provide any drugs to the provinces of Sulaimani and Halabja.
The Kurdistan Regional Government owes the companies over 20 billion Iraqi dinars, according to the pharma companies.