Leaving my country to live and study in the U.K was a dream or a decision which I’ve taken since I was in Secondary school. When I started University, my dream grew stronger, I had never considered this matter as an option; it was always the fate which I was waiting for.
I used to mention this hope everyday, it was my favorite subject, the opinions of my friends about this idea were quite variable, some of them had the same hope and they encouraged me, others showed no interest. However, two of them rejected that matter completely
Saif and Laith, two Doctors who differ in many things but, I used to hear the same comment from both of them “I’ve never thought about it, I’ll never do it” “I agree that it’s not going well here, however I’ll live like my family and friends, nothing can force me to live away from my country”. It’s not a matter of being patriotic, they just refused the idea.
The last year was our final year in the University, there was a very high competition between the students to get the highest scores; this didn’t concern me as i was leaving
The circumstances in Baghdad started getting worse and the doctors faced many problems, some of them were killed. Laith had to live a terrible period as his family was threatened by the sectarians, and he had to leave his house to stay away for a while, he suffered a lot at that time , eventually he changed his mind, he decided to work in Kurdistan just to stay away from the mess.
As soon as I finished my studies, I left Baghdad, at the same time Laith was in Kurdistan with other guys to apply for a job there, he got it and he will start working in Zakho soon, he was quite pleased with that.
When he went back to Baghdad, there was an argument between Saif and all the others who applied to work in Kurdistan, “you’re going to lose your opportunity in getting the higher education, we can work in the city of medicine, we’ll get the best training” these were Saif's words to the others.
Saifs opinion is correct to an extent, we used to see hard competition every year between all the newly graduated doctors for finding a job in Baghdad, any doctor whose overall score is less than 65% had to look for another city, the favorite place for training is the city of medicine, which is group of large number of hospitals for different specialties and centers for subspecialties.
As one of the doctors who had got the highest scores in the university, Saif had also the opportunity to go further in his education and to be gain an academic profession in a short period, which used to be the dream of most Iraqi specialists.
The 10th of December 2006 was the date, when every doctor in Iraq had to apply for a job, all the newly graduated doctors had to go to the ministry of health to apply there, it’s a meeting held every year, which we call the Central distribution.
A few days later, I phoned Saif , his words were completely unexpected “ I didn’t apply, like most our friends I’m not going to work here, I’m in a quandary between going to Kurdistan or leaving the country”. When I hear such words from Saif, I can imagine what level we reached.
This is the first time when other cities attract doctors more than Baghdad; doctors with low scores were accepted in Baghdad. Many doctors didn’t apply at all, those who applied for work in Baghdad, are not sure if they’ll do it, however, they didn’t have another option. Large number of doctors is leaving the country and not so far Iraq and especially Baghdad is going to face shrinkage in the number of available doctors. This problem will get worse as the universities in Baghdad are facing terrible times, they can’t give proper clinical sessions and the staff is threatened. It’s expected that they will be closed.
The ministry of Health is controlled by The Turbans who are followers of AL-Sader, apart from the corruption which has deprived people from everything they might need, sectarian mentality is superior, and doctors are threatened or even killed.
The lack of doctors is a terrible thing which we can’t tolerate, people in Iraq used to adapt, however, how can they adapt such thing?
I imagine the large number of children in summer, who are suffering the dehydration, they scream loudly, they look skinny and their faces are miserable, they need special care and follow up, will they recieve it? I’m also thinking about the injured in every explosion, they’re confused, terrified, who is going to look after them, I see the patients suffering the pain, bending their bodies to control it, who will comfort them?
I’m not worried about Saif and Laith, I’m sure they’ll be fine; however, they represent all the young Iraqis, they have become helpless, pessimistic, depressed and lost. I’ll never ask anybody to stay there; I was the first who left. I’d like to ask them to be optimistic, but, I wasn’t when I was there. I’d like to be helpful, however, I’m not.
Everybody says that the problem has just begun; however, what worse could happen?