Negligence and Corruption are Root Causes of Baghdad Fire

Endemic corruption and gross mismanagement are at the heart of Iraq’s health system. At least 82 people were killed and at least 110 were wounded in a horrible fire at Ibn al-Khatib hospital in Baghdad late Saturday night. Preliminary reports believe the fire started from haphazardly stored oxygen cylinders. The hospital has no sprinklers or smoke detectors. The false ceilings were flammable and immediately burst into flames. One doctor said, “The whole system is broken.” He continued, “I’m a doctor, and I’m serious when I say that people should die in their homes instead of here. At least they’ll be… in one piece.”

The Prime Minister has announced an investigation and suspended the director general of eastern Baghdad’s health department as well as the facility’s director of engineering and maintenance. Medical staff at Ibn al-Khatib hospital expressed disgust saying that the fire could have easily occurred at any of the other government hospitals. “They all have the same ceilings, the same faulty electric wires. There’s no fire-escape plan, no fire extinguishers.”

Let us pray fervently for:

  • Government officials to hear and respond to the public outcry against the corruption and mismanagement of Iraq’s health system and respond with real efforts to reform and clean up the mismanagement (The Bible, Isaiah 1:4).
  • Doctors to demand that hospitals immediately enact safety and emergency protocols that will safeguard both patients and staff in hospitals (The Bible, Job 5:11).
  • Responses and reactions to this disgraceful disaster bring about genuine reforms that are clearly manifested (The Bible, Romans 8:28).