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New Facilities Augment Healthcare Access

With the establishment of the new centers there is at least one basic health center for every 8,000 rural people now.With the establishment of the new centers there is at least one basic health center for every 8,000 rural people now.

Inequitable geographical distribution of health facilities pose major challenges to achieving health targets set in the national development goals. To address the problem, a considerable number of health centers and health houses (which provide basic health services to people) were opened simultaneously across the country on Monday.

Nearly 657 health centers were inaugurated by 47 universities of medical sciences in 28 provinces through a video conference held in the presence of Health Minister Seyed Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi, at a health center in the northern Mazandaran Province. 

“On Tuesday the health minister will visit the six newly-opened health centers in Zeyt-e- Sofla, Tabaqdeh, and Panbeh Chooleh villages and cities of Izadshahr, Noor, and Juyabr, all in Mazandaran,” said Qasem Janbabaee, head of Mazandaran University of Medical sciences.

“Since 2013, six chemotherapy treatment centers and four cancer diagnosis centers have opened in the province,” which has a high incidence of esophageal cancer, he added.  

Although people living in less populated cities and villages still don’t have acceptable access to specialized healthcare services, the latest measure significantly improves their access to quality basic healthcare. Currently, most of the specialists sent to deprived areas are active in the fields of internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology.

Funds allocated for construction of the new health facilities with a total area of 200,000 sq meters was about $70 million, IRNA reported.  

With the establishment of the new centers there is at least one basic health center for every 8,000 rural people now. Also, there is a dentist and a laboratory technician for every 15,000 rural population.

Since the 2014 Health Reform Plan, more than 2,700 health centers were established across the country at a cost of $195 million (7,800 billion rials). Around $183 million (7,350 billion rials) was also spent by the Health Ministry on reconstruction and renovation of 12,780 existing health centers. 

 More Centers Soon 

An additional 6,200 health centers in towns with a population of less than 20,000 people will be established in the near future. 

Earlier, a MoU was signed between Hashemi and Abbas Akhoundi, the minister of roads and urban development, to expand the number of health centers in urban and rural areas so as to cover more people living in outlying areas of cities and towns. 

With the aim to curb critical shortage in the health workforce in deprived areas, last November the ministry dispensed 2,000 specialists in different fields across 850 state-run hospitals in 378 cities. An estimated 1,600 more specialists are expected to start work in deprived areas soon. The measure will improve equal access to healthcare services in different parts of the country, “at least for a specific period of time since doctors return to their original place of work after completion of field services,” said Mohammad Aghajani, deputy minister of health for treatment.

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