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New Partnership For Healthcare In Iraq

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR HEALTHCARE IN IRAQ -- (Extensions of Remarks - August 04, 2007)

* Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I rise today to commend the efforts of several of our 7th District constituents who are working to rebuild the shattered healthcare system in Iraq. The collaboration between Dr. Goran Bekhtyar, a Kurdish-American physician from Franklin, Tennessee and Smith & Nephew, a global medical technology company based in Memphis, demonstrates to all of us that individual people can indeed achieve remarkable results.

* I came to know Dr. Bekhtyar several years ago through his service in the Tennessee state government. After the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, Dr. Bekhtyar set aside his medical practice in Franklin, Tennessee to work full-time at rebuilding the medical system in his native Iraq. He founded a non-profit organization, Improved Health Systems for Iraq (IHSI), and has traveled frequently to Iraq to advise health officials. During his brief visits home, he has worked tirelessly to enlist American healthcare providers and companies in his efforts.

* Dr. Bekhtyar told me of the primitive conditions and lack of modern equipment that prevents Iraqi doctors from effectively treating their patients. I encouraged him to contact Smith & Nephew, a global medical technology company that specializes in developing Orthopaedic Trauma & Clinical Therapies, Orthopaedic Reconstruction, Endoscopy and Advanced Wound Management products. After meeting with Dr. Bekhtyar, Smith & Nephew leaders such as Dwayne Montgomery, Ken Reali, Zane Wood, and Mark Augusti immediately committed to assisting the efforts of IHSI.

* Over the past six months, this team has spearheaded a donation drive through its Project Apollo Program, which will provide nearly half a million dollars of vital and crucial medical devices to orthopaedic surgeons and hospitals in Iraq. The program will provide advanced, world-class products such as non-locking plates and screws, and the Exogen ultrasonic bone healing system. Dr. Bekhtyar will return to Iraq on August 23rd and begin the distribution of the medical devices to Iraqi hospitals and physicians.

* Madam Speaker, please join me in commending the passion and perseverance of Dr. Goran Bekhtyar and the initiative and generosity of Smith & Nephew. Together, they are setting an example of selflessness that we would all do well to follow.

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