Health services in Erbil witnessed remarkable development in recent years, especially with regard to the provision of specialized health services and the number of foreign health facilities which provide high-level medical services provided with advanced technologies. The number of government hospitals amounted to 25 hospitals containing 2833 beds and 271 health centers.
Infant mortality per 1000 births is 3.6 and mortality rate of children less than 5 years per 1,000 births is 21.35/36
Government health services in Erbil need to be developed in terms of the number of beds per 1000 citizens, since the current ratio is one bed for every 1000 citizens, which is a small percentage where the target in the future is two beds per 1000 citizens. The public sector in medical services needs to raise the level of quality of service and the introduction of the concepts and standards of global health, as well as enhancing the quality and tightening the control and follow-up on the sector to reduce infant and maternal mortalities and increase the success rate of treatments and reduce medical errors. Also, there is a need to reduce the variance in the number of centers and the field of medical services provided in the center and outskirts. Additionally, there is a need to raise the level of using of modern technology and equipment and the development of medical laboratories, testing methods and used machinery, as well as the development of medical and administrative staff in the sector.
Despite the government’s keenness to increase green areas in Erbil, where 113 park projects were implemented during 2013 only, yet urban expansion, the steady increase in population and the increasing mobility, especially in the city center, all contributed to increasing pollution in the air. During 2012 and 2013 Erbil witnessed an increase in the severity and duration of seasonal dust storms during the single year, which reflects a vulnerability to climate change. On the other hand, the inevitable result of the depletion of ground and surface water as well as the weakness of sewerage network and the non-application of solid and liquid wastes’ treatment and their impact on raising pollution in the soil, which is alarming in the medium and long term.
There is severe weakness in the field of periodical environmental studies and statistics, in addition to the weak competencies of employees in the environmental field and the limited existing disciplines, as well as the lack of modern technologies in environmental management or advanced mechanization in this field.
Upon analyzing the status quo in the field of environment, the concerned team was unable to determine the readings, indicators or the specific data related to rates of pollution and toxic gases in the different natural environment resources of air, water and soil due to the lack of this kind of data and information. However, the various participants in the planning process pointed to the growing severity of environmental problems notable in Erbil, whether in terms of low rainfall or tangible air pollution, among others.
The Kurdistan Environment Protection Authority is concerned with maintaining environment improvement, yet the preservation of the environment issues are subject to the participation of other governmental institutions; such as the municipality, municipalities and agriculture. The environmental field in Erbil is still weak and needs development, particularly the data and measuring tools of the different levels of pollution and the efficiency of experienced workers and specialists.
Erbil seeks to provide housing for its citizens, particularly low-income families, through the implementation of various housing projects. The provided housing services vary to include two main types of residential buildings; three-storey buildings and ten-storey buildings, with residential units of 108m2 and 114 m2, targeting low-income people37. In addition to multi-storey residential units, Erbil provides independent housing units carried out by the Iraqi Korean company according to international standards, using Korean environment-friendly technology. Under the direct guidance of the President of Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, 5,000 housing units were allocated within the project “Korean Homes” for low-income persons, located close to Berzyn complex, which were distributed and delivered to 5,000 applicant citizens through a lottery as of February of 2014.
Associations and non-governmental organizations:
Civil society and non-governmental institutions vary in Erbil and they are divided according to their website to centers, associations and organizations. According to database of non-governmental organizations at UNAMI in 2010, there are 66 associations, institutions and non-governmental organization, both local and national, in Erbil, most of which (60) are with scope of work that include Erbil, in addition to the rest of Kurdistan governorates while the remaining are concerned with developmental programs on the level of Iraq as a whole38. The areas of work of associations and organizations vary from general humanitarian to specialized in providing specific services; such as services in the field of autism, chronic diseases care or care for writers or Arts.
In addition to local and national associations, dozens of international community organizations are headquartered in Erbil or established a local branch therein.
In general, associations and non-governmental organizations vary in terms of the quality of programs and levels of empowerment, in addition to the fact that the sector as a whole needs organization in terms of official registration methodology and control of activities by the government.
36 Information, statistics and indicators for Erbil Governorate 2014, the Ministry of Planning, Kurdistan Statistical Authority, Erbil Directorate of Statistics
37 Erbil Statistics
38 List of associations in Erbil – UNAMI, 2012