Iraq's Female Nurses Struggle for Equality

Zaidi’s opinion is in line with that of journalist Alaa Koliy. In an interview with Al-Monitor, Koliy said, “A lot of people are starting to understand the role of female nurses and how their work requires some activities that seem strange in a conservative society, such as touching men and staying overnight in the hospital.”

Koliy asserted, “The situation has changed and there is an improvement in the relationship between society and the female nurse, given the need for job opportunities and the spread of education and openness to other cultures.”

For his part, social researcher Sabah Kadhim points out the contradiction between the rejection of the nursing profession and society’s need for it. He told Al-Monitor, “The security situation, leading to casualties from war and terrorist attacks, calls for the qualification of medical and paramedical staff and for the development of the nursing sector to meet treatment needs.”

In the city of Diwaniya, medical assistant Alaa Najem told Al-Monitor, “Around 25 Indian nurses work in Iraq for a salary of about $500 to $600, which is less than the salary received by Iraqi nurses, which contributed to the improvement of health services in Diwaniya's hospital and health centers.”

Iraqi nurse Lamia Saleh told Al-Monitor that working with Indian nurses has increased her competence, stressing, “Nurses recruited from abroad have a high professionalism and extensive experience.” For her part, Indian nurse Kerala Mathu said that Iraqi nurses are eager to work, but lack expertise and need more qualifications.

Despite Iraq's dire need for nurses, social customs still discourage the Iraqi government from issuing laws promoting the nursing profession and ensuring fair remuneration for female nurses.

(Nursing image via Shutterstock)

4 Responses to Iraq's Female Nurses Struggle for Equality