High-level delegation of WHO visits Iraq to boost health system [EN/AR]


Baghdad, Iraq, 16 March 2022 – A High-level delegation from the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded a 5-day visit to Baghdad and Erbil to finalize Iraq's Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) process.

The UHPR is a governmental review mechanism led by the WHO Member States, in which countries voluntarily agree to a regular and transparent peer-to-peer review of their national preparedness capacities, as well as the performance of their health system in response to the different hazards and risks affecting public health.

This initiative aims to bring together the relevant stakeholders in the country in a spirit of solidarity and mutual trust to promote more effective national coordination and international cooperation, to strengthen health security in the country.

"This is my first visit to Iraq since the COVID-19 pandemic. I truly congratulate Iraq for all the efforts made to scale up the preparedness and response to COVID-19 and look forward to a further investment aimed at strengthening the national health system," said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

"I've seen the progress made towards enhancing health systems in Iraq. I left Baghdad with full confidence in the ability of the political leadership and health professionals to face all difficulties and advance the health system in the country," he added.

The high-level delegation, led by Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, met with HE Prime Minister Mostafa Al-Kadhimi and other high-level officials, including Iraq's Minister of Health HE Dr Hani Mousa Al Iqabi. The two sides discussed the performance of the Iraqi health system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reviewed the strengths of the response and the areas needing further improvements, both in terms of the health system's development and in the health security areas pertaining to preparedness and response to emergencies and outbreaks.

"WHO is proud of its contribution so far. It is completely ready to further enhance collaboration with the government and the people of Iraq at all levels to ensure the best attainable health outcomes for everyone in Iraq and beyond," said Dr Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Iraq.

"This mission is of critical importance as Iraq is one of five countries prioritized to undertake the UHPR globally. Iraq will be sharing the lessons learned with all WHO Member States and paving the way for improving the performance of its health system and strengthening the preparedness and response capacities to tackle different public health hazards," Dr Zouiten added.


For more information, please contact:

Ajyal Sultany, WHO Communications Officer,

Sadeq Al-Wesabi, WHO Communications Officer,