BACKGROUND: The United Nations (UN) estimated the population of Iraq in 2005 at almost 29 million, of which nearly 14 million were children aged 0-14 years. Iraq is aiming to improve child oral health, and subsequent child general health, through school dental services, offered by primary health care centres. OBJECTIVE: To develop and test a GIS-based planning approach for the Hillah district of Iraq as a model for the rest of the country. All data were gathered from open sources. SETTING: The city has 98 neighbourhoods, with a total child population of 368 274, occupying 161 Sq. km2, with 14 fixed primary health care dental clinics. DESIGN: Accessibility zones were created using GIS, based on the ability of dentists to make their way to schools. OUTCOME MEASURES: A total of 23 307 of 0-4 year-olds (14%) and 74 384 (45%) of 0-15 year-olds lived outside the accessibility zones. RESULT: Areas where services are not available to the child population were identified, whether or not they attended primary schools. CONCLUSION: Reforming the existing dental health services in Iraq can be achieved by careful planning and appropriate utilisation of health resources.