Iran Seeks Mobile Clinics from Italy

One of the suitable areas for medical cooperation between Iran and Italy is launching of mobile clinics in Iran. “This will be beneficial to Iranians by helping provide access to healthcare in all areas, including remote regions,” said Health Minister Seyed Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi.

Hashemi accompanied President Hassan Rouhani during his visit to Italy (January 25-27) where he met with Massimo Rustico, Head of International Unit of the Italian Union of Building.

Pointing to the measures taken by the Health Ministry, he said in the past two years since the Rouhani government took office, “we were successful in extending medical insurance to 98% of the population” under an inclusive health coverage program, in addition to equipping state-run hospitals with the necessary health devices, IRNA quoted him as saying.

With the implementation of the Health Reform Plan in April 2014 the number of people seeking medical treatment in state-run hospitals has increased significantly. But there is always the need for new hospitals to help provide quality healthcare.

During a ten-year plan, 100,000 beds should be added to the current number of hospital beds. Around 10,000 to 15,000 will be added within two years.

“In order to increase our hospital capacity in response to the demand in healthcare services, we are signing MoUs with Korea and holding talks with Japan and China. We also hope to reach an understanding with Italy in this respect,” Hashemi said.

Foreign investors can cooperate with Iran in two ways. First, they can set up and run hospitals under the ‘Wholly Foreign Owned Hospitals’ (WFOH) program. Second, they can participate in the form of joint ventures with the hospital construction sector.

Hashemi invited Rustico and other officials of the union to visit Iran (in February) for a first-hand evaluation of Iran’s hospital industry.

“Prior to the visit, we will identify domestic investment companies to further help enhance bilateral relations.”

Ebrahim Raeesiyuon, economic advisor to the health minister said an agreement with an Italian company (Pesina Company) has been finalized and according to a MoU signed with Italy, three 500-bed hospitals, one each in Tehran, Rasht (Gilan Province) and Nishabur (Khorasan Razavi Province) will be constructed.

In order to accommodate the growing demand for healthcare services in their respective countries, many nations have embarked on the WFOH program.

As an example, China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) introduced the WFOH program in seven Chinese cities and provinces in July 2014. Under the new regulations, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan may be home to foreign owned hospitals, but their establishment in any other location within China is not allowed.