Featured Doctor

AL DABBAGH, Prof Abdul Munem

Iraq – Family Doctor

What work do you do?

I am a Professor of Family and Community Medicine, acting as the chairman of the Scientific Council of Family and Community Medicine in the Iraqi Board for Medical Specialisations; directing the residency programmes in Family and Community Medicine. Hence my current principal job is academic being involved in the postgraduate family physician training programme.

I am also a clinical service provider through my own private clinic providing curative and preventive services to a huge number of families for over than twenty years.

Prior to my current position, I was the head of the department of Family and Community Medicine in AL Mustansiryah Medical School, in Baghdad, and was involved in undergraduate training, as well as providing clinical services in the Ministry of Health.

Other interesting things you have done?

I am proud to have been one of the principal founders of the Iraqi Family Medicine Society, in 2003, well as being among the principal founders of the WONCA East Mediterranean region (EMR) organization. I became the Secretary General of WONCA EMR, until 2016, and currently I am an acting scientific advisor of WONCA EMR.

I am also a temporary advisor for the WHO EMRO and have conducted many shared activities with them.

I have been a member in the examining committee of the Arab Board in Family Medicine for the last four years.

What is it like to be a family doctor in Iraq at the current time?

Initially, and as the health system in Iraq was oriented towards providing secondary and tertiary care services, this has reflected itself negatively on the choice on the newly graduated Iraqi doctors towards choosing Family Medicine as their future specialty. Those who had the courage to become family doctors suffered a lot because of poor public awareness towards family medicine and the unstable conditions the country was facing, which has pushed most of them towards immigration.

However for the last fifteen years the Ministry of Health aided by WHO, have started adopting the new health system towards universal health coverage - aiming at providing quality essential primary health care services to all Iraqis with the emphasis on the role of family doctors as the principal care providers. This has resulted in improvement of the quality of care provided by the specialised family health care centers, improvement of public awareness, and the attracting of many of the newly graduated medical students towards choosing Family Medicine as their future career.

What are your interests outside work?

Outside my work I enjoy spending most of my time with my beloved family.
I also like reading historical books, swimming as well as hiking whenever my time permits.