Hassan al-Tamimi is retiring after a fire at Baghdad’s COVID hospital killed more than 80 people and injured dozens more.
Iraq’s health minister has resigned ten days after a fire at a COVID hospital in Baghdad killed more than 80 people.
Hassan al-Tamimi, who joined the government with the support of powerful Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, resigned voluntarily, a government statement said on Tuesday.
The fire at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital, which killed 82 and 110 injured, sparked outrage on social media, with a widespread hashtag demanding the resignation of the health minister.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, a non-partisan independent who regularly reaches out to the sadists, the largest parliamentary bloc, suspended Tamimi in the wake of the fire, along with many other officials. The government lifted the suspension on Tuesday and then resigned.
The fire highlighted the abandonment of a health care system that was one of the best in the Middle East, but which has been affected by conflict, international sanctions, the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, and unbridled corruption.
The fire broke out in the hours before dawn on April 25, caused by the explosion of poorly stored oxygen cylinders. Many of the victims were respirators to treat COVID-19 and were burned or suffocated in the resulting hell that quickly spread through the hospital, where dozens of relatives visited patients in the intensive care unit.
The results of the investigation into the incident blamed lower-level officials.
The director of the hospital Ibn al-Khatib, his administrative assistant, the head of the hospital’s civil defense and the head of the health department east of Baghdad “were dismissed and will be subject to various disciplinary measures.” , according to the government statement.
The government has ordered hospitals across the country to review and implement better safety and health procedures.
The incident further eroded Iraqi confidence in their health care system. During the coronavirus pandemic, this lack of confidence has meant that some have not sought medical help when they are infected with COVID-19 and have decided not to get vaccinated at state medical centers.