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Sun 12 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Baghdad rebuilds its dental industry

Building has begun on a new dental centre in the Sadr City region of Bagdad.

Building has begun on a new dental centre in the Sadr City region of Bagdad.

The new centre forms part of a wider project to rebuild the east Baghdad area of Sadr City.

The coalition government announced a US$100 million regeneration plan in June, to include the building of two new sports stadiums, several schools, health clinics, a blood bank and the new dental centre.

The dental centre, placed in the heart of the Iraq capital, is thought to cost about US$2.2 million and will take around eight months to complete. The centre will cover more than 800 square metres.

Local dentist, Dr Faaiz Al Hamadani, told MED that the move was a positive one.

"Anything to increases accessibility to care in the city is good. Patients have to pass through many obstacles and checkpoints just to reach the existing dental facilities as nearly all of them can't afford the cost of treatment in private clinics."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently urged displaced health workers to return home to rebuild the country's crippled health service.

However, comments on web blogs show exiled dentists are doubtful about returning. "If even the national guards are afraid, why would the dentists living abroad want to come back?" wrote local blogger, Baghdad Dentist.

To date, no details have been disclosed about how the government plans to staff the new dental facility.

The Sadr City area of Baghdad has remained a trouble spot in Baghdad, and was completely locked down for two months earlier this year, as the security grew volatile.

"Dental and medical practitioners are very badly needed in Baghdad and other areas," said Hamadani. "But they will want assurances that the security and infrastructure will be in place."

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