SULAIMANI – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will allocate a monthly budget of around three billion Iraqi dinars ($2 million US dollars) for cancer hospitals affected by medicine shortages and overdue salaries.
The KRG will monthly spend 1.6 billion Iraqi dinars (over one million US dollars) “to buy medicine, medical and lab equipment, and other needs for cancer hospitals” in Erbil, Sulaimani and Duhok.
A total of 1,027,600,000 Iraqi dinars (around 704,000 US dollars) will be provided monthly to pay health employees for working overtime, according to an order submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Economy.
The financial allocations come after protests by Sulaimani’s Hiwa Cancer Hospital and cancer patients over delayed salaries and medicine shortages.
Hiwa hospital health employees returned to service on June 16 after two days of being on strike against chronic payment delays they are owed for working double shifts.
The KRG owes health employees, administrative staff and physicians for overtime work provided at Sulaimani’s Hiwa Cancer Hospital in the last six months.
Abandoned by the KRG, patients from Hiwa Cancer Hospital in Sulaimani are struggling to survive from deadly cancer dealing with medication shortages.
During a two-day strike, cancer patients had left their bed and gathered outside the hospital in solidarity with healthcare workers praising them for providing health services with dedication despite not been granted with benefits.
There is also a shortage of medicine provided free of cost and patients say they are unable to afford to buy them elsewhere. Pembrolizumab and Pertuzumab are the two specific drugs which the hospital struggles to provide and their prices range from $1,200 to $3,200 despite the poor quality.