Family Health Sees Upliftment

Improvement in healthcare and preventive treatment has helped boost family health.Improvement in healthcare and preventive treatment has helped boost family health.

The deal between Iran and the world powers that eased sanctions in July 2015 and took effect a year ago, have been positive in the health sector as manifested both in terms of quality of medical services and affordability. 

Speaking to IRNA, Iraj Harirchi, deputy health minister, elaborated on how the medical system has been enhanced in the post-sanctions era. 

“In a country with increasing inflation rates, decreasing GNP and negative economic growth, the public health indices will naturally decline.” 

Statistics show that in conditions of economic hardships, families first tend to cut expenditure on health, education and recreation, while giving priority to food and housing. This was the case in Iran under the sanctions regime, and people chose not to refer to health centers unless necessary. 

Today, however, a considerably larger number of people are using medical services, through the Health Ministry’s vast network that is supported by medical insurance,  said Harirchi.

More than 90% of Iranians are under the coverage of at least one health insurance scheme. Improvement in healthcare and preventive treatment has also helped boost family health.

Pointing to medicine import, he said that although there were no direct sanctions on medicines, trading with prominent global pharmaceutical companies was often marked by challenges.  

“Sanctions indirectly created obstacles in medicine trade and importers often had to purchase essential pharmaceutical products at 7% to 12% higher cost.” 

With the end of sanctions, the administration has been able to allocate $700 million to the health sector to enhance the quality of medical equipment. 

  Reducing Dependence on Imports

Additionally, scientific and academic relations with the world community have enabled the development of the domestic pharmaceutical sector, and thus reduce reliance on imported medical products.  

“The focus is now on domestic production of drugs and medical equipment which has seen a cut in imports.” 

The new climate in international relations has also provided a market for export of Iranian medicines. The increase in export of medicine to Russia and a few neighboring countries, is an example. 

The publication of scientific articles was also a difficult task for Iranians earlier especially given the US influence in the domain of scientific publishing. 

“It is now much easier for Iranian scientists to have their articles published in international publications.” 

Harirchi also pointed to foreign companies’ willingness to invest in the health sector “as a great opportunity which has yet to be exploited.” 

He blamed the delay on bureaucratic red tape in Iran. 

“Building hospitals is a large-scale and long-term investment which demands guarantees by the government.” Such proposals are currently under study and will hopefully come through soon. 


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