The State of Health Care in Iran

The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has promised health care for the entire country for the next four years. Rouhani asserts that the health care plan would be partially backed from funding created through cutting government subsidies.

Reza رضا مصطفوی طباطبایی

Rouhani spoke in a live broadcast interview on Wednesday, Sept. 30th about his mission to create a nation where Iranians are protected under a universal health insurance program. In route to bettering the country’s state of health, Rouhani said that at least five million citizens who are living under the poverty line will be attended to first.

Rouhani continued to say, “Our people face a number of difficulties in their health protection and when they enter a state-run hospital they usually have to obtain their medicine, tests and medical equipment from other places.”

Iran’s health program financing is often referred to as ‘mixed-financing’ because there are different financial privileges for different types of fundraising. General revenue financing, social health care insurance and out-of-pocket payments make up the health care system of Iran, but these plans mainly constitute secondary coverage for those residents insured by social insurance.

In Rouhani’s interview, he also apologized to Iranian citizens who have suffered through certain environments. With this proposed new health program, he plans to fix both health and social issues.

In the current healthcare system, it is difficult to reach universal health care, especially for those living in rural areas of Iran. There have been multiple studies that point to vast inefficiencies in the healthcare system in Iran’s rural society, representing an impairment of the current institutions put in place.

Rural healthcare is a priority at the World Health Organization (WHO), as the issue has led to much international discussion. Though half the world lives in rural areas, most do not receive the same care as their urban counterparts. Though the demands of these rural communities are demanding this inequality be resolved, there is difficulty in its implementation. Chiefly, the health problems in rural regions are different from what individuals experience in urban areas. In the ideal state of “universal health care,” one would expect there to be uniformity across all healthcare institutions, but this is simply not the case. More often, the impoverished regions obtain less quality in their healthcare systems.

Iran’s healthcare system is set to improve the health care institutions in rural areas by establishing health houses responsible for a specific rural region. These health houses are equipped with a staff of healthcare providers called, behvarz, that are employed by their local communities. The behvarz have been instrumental in improving the healthcare system in Iran though various rural community healthcare systems are experiencing difficulties trying to keep up with the changing landscape of Iran’s volatile political, social and environmental ecosystems.

Considering the difficulties that the healthcare system is facing in rural areas of Iran, individuals are encouraged to donate and volunteer. Funds and time can be donated in various capacities: education of healthcare providers, institutional developments, new health house construction, new technology development and community volunteering.

Reza Mostafavi Tabatabaei has focused his philanthropic endeavors on developing healthcare institutions in the underdeveloped regions of Iran. In assisting in the development of new health houses across the country, Reza has aided in improvements in the industry; however, there is still much more that can be done to improve the healthcare system in Iranian rural communities.