Kurdistan area getting $2.6M medical center

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 5, 2009

A $2.6 million medical trauma center will open in August in Iraqi Kurdistan near the Turkish border, military officials say.

Zakho Emergency Hospital, which is being constructed with U.S. funds, will share the same site as an existing hospital.

Many of the trauma cases are expected to stem from car accidents on a dangerous road leading to and from the town of Zakho that the locals call "Suicide Hill," according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials.

The new center will treat patients who otherwise would wind up in the existing hospital’s emergency room. It will feature surgical wards and X-ray and MRI facilities, said Terry Samson, the corps’ resident engineer in Dahuk.

"The medical staff will mainly consist of trauma surgeons and nurses highly skilled in emergency care," he said.

The center will contain a power plant building, parking lot, security fence and security building. It will have marble floors and ceramic tile walls.

The U.S. funds, which come from the Economic Support Fund, will cover medical equipment, a program to train staff members, and operational and maintenance costs.

The general contractor for the project is the Kurdish-owned Siapan company.

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