Karbala is a central city in Iraq, located about 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Baghdad, and has an estimated population of 1.5 million people. The city, best known as the location of the Battle of Karbala (680), is amongst the holiest cities for Shia Muslims after Makkah andMadinah. It is home to the shrine of Imam Husain and it is famous as the site of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (pbuh) and his companions at the Army of Umayyad and commemorations are held by millions of Shias annually to remember this tragedy. Karbala is considered sacred by all Shias.
Karbala experiences a hot desert climate with extremely hot, dry summers and cool winters. To the west of Karbala is the Lake Milh (lake of salt), also known as Lake Razazah. A one hour car drive south takes you to Najaf. An hour car drive to the north-east takes you to Baghdad.The area ofthe city ofKarbalaisabout52,856square kilometers.
Expansion & Development
- History indicates that Karbala was inhabited by first dwellers after 12th of Muharam, year 61 of Hijrah, when Imam Ali IbnAlhusain(pbuh) buried the bodies of his father Imam Husain and his Uncle Al-Abbass (pbut) and their followers who have been brutally massacred by the Umayyad tyrant YasidIibnMuhawiah’s army.
- In year 247 of Hijrah The Abbasid caliph, Almo’tasim rebuilt the mausoleums of the martyrs and allowed houses, shops and markets be built around them. He renovated the town after he killed his father AlMutawakil, who had razed the town and its buildings to the ground and had cultivated the ground to conceal the mausoleums of Imam husain and his followers.
- The first settler from the prophet’s lineage in the city was Sayed Ibrahim bin Mohammed Abed Al Mujab son of Imam Musa Al-Kazim (pbuh).
- In year 372 the first wall was built for the city with an estimated area of 2400 square meters,and in year 412 the wall was rebuilt by Minister Hassan Bin FadlIbnSahlanAlramehermuzi, who opened four iron gates through the wall.
- In year 941 Shah Ismail Safawi visited Karbala and ordered drilling of an old river along with a renovation of the mausoleums.
- In year 953 Suleiman the Magnificent visited the shrine and fixed the mausoleums and transformed the surround fields that were covered by sand into gardens.
- In early nineteenth century an Indian king visited Karbala after the great massacre by the Wahabbis(year 1216 of Hijrah) and reconstructed the town along with new beautiful markets and homes and built impregnable wall around the town.
- In year 1217 of HejrahSayed Ali Tabatabai, the grand religious authority in the city at the time, sponsored building the city wall for the third time after the raid and made six gates through the wall.
- Year 1860 witnessed the introduction of telegraph lines in Karbala that connected the city with the outside world.
- In year 1868 during the reign of Midhat Pasha, buildings and facilities were constructed and the city was expanded to add many markets and main roadways.
- In 1914, during the First World War modern buildings were raised and broad streetswere designed for the city and channels of natural streams were created for withdrawal of the surrounding waters.
- During the former regime, the city of Karbala along with other cities particularly in the southern Iraq suffered from neglect and deliberate destruction by the in all sectors and areas of civic society, including the health sector. The militarization of the regime at home and conversion of all country’s infrastructures and capabilities to serve its military might, and wasting of billions of deprived people’s money and wealth in the devastating wars not to mention the loss of millions of innocent lives in its lost misadventures, all have contributed to the impoverished condition countrywide.
Health Sector condition in Karbala Province
According to the annual report of Karbala province council for the year 2007, there are eight government sponsored hospitals and medical centers throughout the province with a capacity of 1056-beds and an average of 881 people per bed. Due to the huge number of pilgrims and visitors to the city per year, there is an urgent need to build at least 17 hospitals and community medical centers. According to the report, most frequent causes of death in the population are those associated with heart disease and the number of deaths for the year 2007, resulting from heart disease and failure were 984 death, followed by brain strokes of 469 deaths, followed by cancer at 323 cases and respiratory diseases and accidents by 243 and 228 cases respectively.
Government hospitals in province of Karbala
1) Al-Husain General Hospital:
*With a capacity of 400-bed, the hospital provides medical services to the people of the province and visitors alike.
* Date of establishment: 1970
* Location: Al-Osrah district
* Land Area: 142 thousand square meters.
* Hospital Divisions: Surgical Department, Department of Internal Medicine, Technical and Administrative sections.
Medical & Nursing Staff:
- 50 specialized physicians
- 49 Resident physicians
- 50 Pharmacists
- 123 Paramedics
- 339 skilled nurses
- 22 undergraduate nurses
- 70 nurses
2) Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology:
* With a capacity of 169-bed, the hospital is specialized in gynecology and obstetrics and provides medical services to general public.
* Date of establishment: 1988
* Location: Mualemeen District
* Land area: 18,334 square meters.
* Hospital Divisions: Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, technical and administrative departments.
Medical & Nursing staff
- 22 specialized physicians
- 13 general physicians
- 16 resident physicians
- 27 pharmacist
- 127 health professionals
- 103 nursing professionals
- Number of daily patients: 75 general, 55 Sonar, 3 CT
- Normal Deliveries 50 & 125 hospitaliation
- Number of total operations: 11 per day and 7 major operations/day.
3) Karbala teaching hospital for Pediatrics
* With a capacity of 200-bed, this specialty hospital provide pediatric related medical services to general public.
* Date of establishement: 2002
* Location: Al-Osrah district
* Land area: 10 acres
* Hospital divisions: Department of Pediatrics, Thalassemia center, technical and administrative sections.
Medical & Nursing Staff:
- 24 specialized physicians
- 14 senior physicians
- 8 visiting physicians
- 43 pharmacists
- 149 health professionals
- 219 nurses
- Number of patients per day: 571, 131 inpatients, 101 ER, 60 CT
4) Al-Hindiah General Hospital:
*With a capacity of 200-bed, this general hospital provides medical services to Al-Hindiah district residents.
*Date of Establishment: 1986
* Land area: 11 acres
*Location: Al- Hindiah
Hospital Divisions: Department of Scientific Research, Technical and Administrative departments.
Medical & Nursing Staff
- 41 specialized physicians
- 10 medical practitioners
- 33 senior resident physicians
- 5 rotating physicians
- 23 visiting physicians
- 2 Dentists
- 23 Pharmacists
- 130 health professionals
- 193 Nurses
- 107 Administration personnel
- Number of total patients per day: 567
5) Ain-Eltamur General Hospital:
*With a capacity of 50-bed, this general hospital provides medical services to the district’s residents and visitors.
*Date of establishment: 1976
*Location: Ain-Eltamur District
Hospital Divisions: Clinical Department (internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, gyonoclogy) and technical and administrative departments.
Medical and Nursing Staff
- 4 Specialized physicians
- 3 General Practicioners
- 11 Rotating physicians
- 1 senior resident
- 5 Dentists
- 24 health professionals
- 38 Nursing staff
- 29 Administrative staff
- Number of patients per day: 284