More GPs in Rural Areas

More GPs in Rural AreasMore GPs in Rural Areas

The program to increase the number of rural family doctors or general practitioners (GP) has come into force in deprived regions, villages and rural tribal areas with populations below 20,000  and covers 28 million people, following  an agreement signed between the Health Ministry and Iran Health Insurance Organization last year (ended March 20).  

While the plan to increase the number of GPs in deprived areas was envisaged a decade ago and was implemented in fits and starts, however, the present administration has taken stronger measures to address the problem, IRNA reported.

The income of GPs has increased from $7.2 per visit in 2013 to $32.8 in 2014 and nearly 1,830 GPs were appointed under the program, pushing up the number of rural physicians from 4,567 in 2013 to 6,397 in 2014. These were two of the most important steps taken by the government to strengthen the rural family doctor program.

Besides, the increase in the number of midwives from 4,718 in 2013 to 5,066 in 2014 was also significant in improving the quality of the services.

Around 1,000 health centers throughout the country were constructed at a cost of $588 million last year and 1000 more are under construction. Further, 2,225 health centers were renovated at a cost of $22 million.

The government has also equipped 1,203 village health centers at a cost of $14.8 million and 2,579 accommodation units for GPs were equipped and commissioned at a cost of $25.4 million. Dental equipment of 1,673 health centers were replaced, which cost $21.2 million. Also, 403 vehicles were leased to the health centers at $18.9 million.

Medicines worth $80 million comprising 436 different types were supplied to 1,439 pharmacies. Besides, five types of drug supplements costing $28,000 in 3,395 centers were made available.

Pentavalent vaccine (five individual vaccines conjugated in one to protect infants from five potentially deadly diseases) was also supplied to all the health centers.

The integration of national programs to control non-communicable diseases in rural areas was initiated this year (started March 21) and the data recording system was digitalized in 1,034 health centers at a cost of $11.5 million.