Six Turkish doctors volunteered to conduct surgeries on seriously ill Iraqi patients in the country's city of Kirkuk and also conveyed their experience to their colleagues in the country.
Their work was the result of a joint project between an Iraqi association, Kirkuk University and local authorities. Professors from Gazi, Yıldırım Beyazıt, Necmettin Erbakan and Selçuk universities in Turkey specializing in various branches of medicine, from gynecology to general surgery, eye surgery and cardiovascular disease were accompanied by healthcare personnel from Turkey. They performed surgeries on 30 Iraqi patients suffering from vital health problems at hospitals in this northern Iraqi city.
For a week, they were accompanied by Iraqi colleagues who watched and performed surgeries with them. Doctors also shared their experience in a series of conferences to health care professionals in Kirkuk for a week and also visited refugee camps there.
Dr. Aydın Beyatlı, who heads the Iraqi association organizing the project as well as a federation of Iraqi Turkmen associations, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Iraqi doctors already benefited from the experience of Turkish doctors, pointing out that some 187 Iraqi doctors underwent training in Turkey with the assistance of their association. "There was a huge demand for the training. So, we decided it was better to host Turkish doctors here instead. They spoke at medical conferences, performed surgeries and informed their peers on surgery techniques. Iraqi doctors are very glad for the sharing of experience, especially to see the advancement in medicine," Beyatlı said. Though Iraq once boasted high-quality medical education in the past, multiple wars since the 1980s, sectarian conflicts, sanctions by other countries and subsequent economic problems dealt blows to medical education, while health professionals struggling to earn an income in the country started leaving Iraq due to financial and security challenges.
Beyatlı said health is the most important issue after security in Iraq and the most common cases were chronic diseases, cancer and injuries stemming from bombings and armed attacks. "We picked 30 patients three months ago, based on the critical stage of their diseases and among those who needed complicated surgeries. Turkish doctors helped them to recover. Moreover, they helped Iraqi doctors perform critical surgeries by themselves in the future. It was like an internship opportunity for them and was very beneficial," he added.