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Iraqi German Functional
Imaging Clinic

First privately owned functional imaging facility coming to Iraq

by Gus Iversen , Editor in Chief
The Iraqi German Functional Imaging Clinic is expected to begin seeing patients next month, marking the first time patients in Iraq will have access to functional imaging exams at a privately owned facility.

Using a double-head, all-purpose GE Millennium gamma camera, Dr. Ibrahim Al Butaihi, the director of the project and consultant in nuclear medicine at Maasstad Hospital in Rotterdam, Netherlands, told HCB News that the clinic expects to introduce the country to all aspects of functional studies.

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Al Butaihi describes the facility's anticipated patient output in terms of phases. During the first phase, the clinic will offer studies of the heart, bones, thyroid, and kidney to patients in the area.

"Later on there will be more functional studies involving almost all organs of the human body," he said.

The camera was purchased from Heritage Radiology in San Antonio, Texas. Stephan Anderson, the company's owner, told HCB News the gamma camera was deinstalled from its previous U.S. location through a partnership with John Zacharczuk of American Allied Imaging, who ensured that all technical aspects of the system were in order.

Opening a functional imaging center in what Al Butaihi describes as "not the safest place on Earth at this moment," has presented the team with a range of hurdles — from physically transferring the gamma camera and hotlab equipment to Baghdad, to getting necessary approvals in a state that has no regulations in place from comparable projects.

For Al Butaihi, who left Iraq in 1999 to live in Europe, bringing functional imaging to his homeland is an exciting and personal achievement.

"I was always waiting for my chance to make my contribution to my country and especially my beloved city of Baghdad," said Al Butaihi, adding that over the years he never forgot about Iraq's need for support and improvements in the health sector.

The staff at the Iraqi German Functional Imaging Clinic will be trained by a team of experts coming from the Netherlands.

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