During IMI’s first delegation in Iraq, a general need for improved infrastructure and a reorganized healthcare system from observed by the IMI delegates. Specifically, the GIT unit in Karbala was substandard and primitive. Therefore, IMI initiated the adoption of the GIT unit in the IMam Hussain (AS) Hospital in Karbala in order to work towards the improvement of the GIT unit in Karbala as well as Najaf. Under the guidance of IMI the GIT unit was provided with endoscope accessories, quality improvement guidelines and expert help to the Karbala GIT unit.
During the next visit in 2010, improvements in the unit were noted, though deficiencies in endoscopic equipment, accessories, lack of quality improvement and infection control activities were apparent, prompting further recommendations from the IMI staff.
The third visit for this project showed improvements that, when compared to the conditions of the first year, showed remarkable improvement. Improvements such as new Pentax High Definition endoscopes with i-Scan capabilities, endoscopy rooms, C-Arm Unit, and X-Ray compatible operating tables for ERCP were added to the unit, bringing the standard of care to the 21st century. The unit itself is now a picture of efficiency and harmony. In addition, procedures which had previously been done without sedation are now employing present consciousness or deep sedation in order to offer comfort for patients. Locally supplied accessories allow the unit to purchase supplies from several manufacturers nearby.
In the years following those primary visits, the GIT unit in Najaf has seen spectacular improvements, including the introduction of new procedures such as Spy-Glass Cholangioscopy, Argon Plasma Coagulation, 24hr Ambulatory PH Monitoring and Esophageal Manometry. In addition gastroenterologists from both the Karbala and Najaf have traveled internationally to learn new procedures. Yearly visits by IMI continue to be carried out, keeping the unit informed on the latest in GIT news.
Give the expansion of services possible because of the updated GIT units, the trips to improve Iraqi GI units always include complex procedures being performed by IMI international delegates as part of our capacity building work as well. The need for practical, hands on training is high—especially when using newer equipment and techniques. As a result, over the years, IMI has offered numerous training opportunities and seminars in Karbala, Najaf and Baghdad.
From March 21st - 23rd, 2013, the GI seminar was held in the Imam Hussein (AS) Hospital in Karbala. Day one consisted of seminars by Dr. Fayez Sandouk on various gastroenterological topics with the remaining two days consisting of the Annual GI Endoscopy Workshop. During the workshop many complex procedures were performed with patient consultations occurring at the same time. Similar seminars and workshops were held in Najaf from March 24-25. The morning of March 28 was sent at the Baghdad University Medical City with case based discussions, Endoscopy and Interventional Radiology workshops. Delegates and IMI Iraq also participated in the 6th Annual Iraqi Gastroenterology and Hepatology Society Conference on the 29th.
More recently, the Eighth Annual Conference and Workshop for Gastroenterology and Hapatology of Middle Euphrates GIT Centers and IMI was held on 16th March, 2016 Wednesday at Ibn Hayan Conference Hall, Ibn Hayan College, Karbala.
The Conference addressed a multitude of topics. Day one consisted of lectures from different speaker, ranging from topics such as Hepatitis C, GI procedures and recent developments in the fields of Gastroenterology and Hematology. Day-two consisted of live cases and surgeries which allowed the attendees to see demonstrations of different procedures. Procedures include Live Gastrointestinal and Hepatobillary Surgery and endoscopy and ERCP cases.