Iran’s healthcare system is in a state of collapse, facing a dire crisis that has profound implications for the well-being of its citizens.
Recently, Iran’s regime’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, made a striking admission during a speech. He responded to the families of certain patients who had gathered in front of the parliament to protest the lack of access to medicine by saying, “Life is in the hands of God.”
These words triggered a wave of furious reactions, with many considering it a clear indication of how the regime handles healthcare. A recent report from the Iranian Statistics Center reinforces the fact that access to healthcare in Iran has turned into a matter of class and commodification over the years.
This report categorized the medical expenses of Iranian households in 2022 based on their monthly income. It revealed that urban households with an income of less than 12 million tomans spent an average of 1.4 tomans per month on healthcare expenses. This group includes wage earners and those earning the minimum wage, with monthly incomes of less than 7 million tomans.
Households with incomes between 12 and 27 million tomans spent 2 million tomans per month on treatment, while those with incomes of 27 to 36 million tomans per month incurred expenses equivalent to 3 million tomans. Higher-income groups spent an average of 4 million tomans per month on healthcare and treatment.
This report unequivocally highlights that, as a consequence of the regime’s policies, healthcare has become a commodity in Iran, with access determined by one’s financial means. Wealthy families can afford the higher costs, but low-income families face the risk of inadequate healthcare, as even the 1.4 tomans per month can be a challenging expense for them.
ILNA news agency published a report titled ‘Treatment for Workers Is Like a Nightmare,’ which states that approximately 60% of Iranian households received a monthly income of only 6 million tomans or less last year, making quality treatment a distant dream for working households today.
Due to dwindling financial resources, a significant portion of the population has turned to self-therapy, a dangerous trend that experts have warned against. Ali Dehghankia, the head of Tehran’s Labor Retired Association, reveals that many retirees have been unable to afford proper medical treatment for a long time, forcing them to also resort to self-treatment.
Families with one or more members suffering from specific illnesses face even more challenges. These are the very people to whom Ebrahim Raisi responded with ‘Life is in God’s hands’ and referred them to the future promise of domestic medicine production.
The promise of domestic medicine production, coupled with the refusal to import necessary medications for certain patients, has become a systematic tactic to trap patients. Time is a critical factor for these patients, and their treatment cannot be postponed indefinitely with the vague prospect of domestic drug production.
Recent reports from Iran’s domestic media further highlight the severe difficulties low-income families face in obtaining essential medicines. This situation has worsened, particularly after the removal of preferred currency rates for medications and subsequent price increases.
On October 5, Hammihan newspaper published a report titled ‘Patients’ Escape Plan,’ indicating that many people either forgo treatment or leave the hospital after receiving medical services due to soaring prices, medication shortages, and high hospital fees.
Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, the secretary general of the nursing home, confirmed an increase in hospital discharges, stating, ‘I’ve received numerous reports of patients leaving hospitals in the south of the capital due to their inability to afford treatment, even after recovering.’
Despite the escalating costs of hospitals and the growing crisis of medication shortages, Raisi claimed progress in the healthcare sector during the opening ceremony of Hakim Hospital. He asserted that over 95% of the required drugs are produced within Iran, and the country exports medications to other nations.
In response to his claim, social media users have raised a valid question: If Iran is indeed exporting medicine, why are domestic needs left unmet?
Meanwhile, the exodus of doctors and medical staff from Iran continues to worsen the healthcare situation. Reports suggest a growing number of Iranians seeking medical treatment in neighboring countries. Oigar Oston, Deputy Commercial Director of Medipol Mega Hospital in Turkey, stated that Iranians prefer Turkish hospitals for ‘quality and reliable medical services.’ The number of Iranian patients receiving treatment at their hospital has increased by 40% compared to the previous year.
Similarly, Birgol Ramzi Ahmed Al-Howeimi, another director of Medipol Mega University, noted that Iranians now rank first among foreign patients in the hospital.
Official reports show that in 2022, around 6,500 doctors, including 2,300 specialists, emigrated from Iran. Considering that approximately 5,000 doctors graduate in Iran each year, it is evident that the emigration of doctors from Iran surpasses the number of incoming new doctors by about 30%.
This survey indicates that ‘economic instability, governance, hopelessness about the future, a desire for a better life abroad, individual and social freedoms, and a higher quality of life outside Iran’ are some of the key factors influencing the desire of doctors and nurses to migrate.
Reza Laripour, the spokesperson of the Medical Council, had previously warned that the regime might reach a point where they have to ‘beg’ for doctors. He also highlighted the likelihood of having to import cardiologists and pediatric surgeons in the coming years to meet the healthcare demand.
Source » irannewsupdate