Evaluation of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals in the pandemic response in Iraq: pandemic preparation within a recovering healthcare infrastructure

  1. S M Moazzem Hossain 1,

  2. Al-Dahir 2,3,

  3. Riyadh-al Hilfi 4,

  4. Yasir Majeed 5,

  5. Alaa Rahi 6,

  6. Vickneswaran Sabaratnam 7,

  7. Taha Al-Mulla 8,

  8. Omar Hossain 9,

  9. Adam Aldahir 10,

  10. Ryan Norton 11,

  11. Lami 12

  12. Correspondence to Professor Sara Al-Dahir;


The purpose of this study is to evaluate Iraq’s health facility preparedness for the surge of hospitalised cases associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, we review pandemic preparedness at both general and tertiary hospitals throughout all districts of Iraq. COVID-19 pandemic preparedness, for the purpose of this review, is defined as: (1) staff to patient ratio, (2) personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff ratio, (3) infection control measures training and compliance and (4) laboratory and surveillance capacity. Despite the designation of facilities as COVID-19 referral hospitals, we did not find any increased preparedness with regard to staffing and PPE allocation. COVID-19 designated hospital reported an increased mean number of respiratory therapists as well as sufficient intensive care unit staff, but this did not reach significant levels. Non-COVID-19 facilities tended to have higher mean numbers of registered nurses, cleaning staff and laboratory staff, whereas the COVID-19 facilities were allocated additional N-95 masks (554.54 vs 147.76), gowns (226.72 vs 104.14) and boot coverings (170.48 vs 86.8) per 10 staff, but none of these differences were statistically significant. Though COVID-19 facilities were able to make increased requisitions for PPE supplies, all facility types reported unfulfilled requisitions, which is more likely a reflection of global storage rather than Iraq’s preparedness for the pandemic. Incorporating future pandemic preparedness into health system strengthening efforts across facilities, including supplies, staffing and training acquisition, retention and training, are critical to Iraq’s future success in mitigating the ongoing impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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