ISSN 2415-1297 (Online)   ISSN 2415-1300 (Print)
Volume : 30 Issue : 1 Year : 2023
The Health Landscape of the Islamic Republic of Iran [Med J Islamic World Acad Sci]
Med J Islamic World Acad Sci. 2016; 24(2): 56-64 | DOI: 10.5505/ias.2016.59320  

The Health Landscape of the Islamic Republic of Iran

S. Alireza Marandi
Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology), President of the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences, Iran.

Prior to the Islamic Revolution, hardly any health care system existed in Iran. Preventive health care was very limited, and a fairly decent curative care could only be found in Tehran and, to a lesser extent, in a few large cities where a great majority of the 1214 thousand Iranian physicians were practicing. The people living in smaller towns and large villages had to seek the advice of expatriate physicians speaking a different language. Poor people in general and residents of more than 65,000 villages had virtually no access to medical care.
When the Islamic Revolution materialized, people rightfully began to expect social justice and health equity, and the Ministry of Health in response started to establish a primary health care (PHC) system throughout the country. However, the main problem was inadequate healthy manpower. As the Ministry of Higher Education was unable to increase the number of students, in 1985, the Parliament passed a law taking away all health education schools from the Ministry of Higher Education and integrated them into the Ministry of Health, forming the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. Almost simultaneously at least one university of medical sciences and health services was established in each province. Since then the chancellors of the universities are responsible for not only health education and research, but also the health care of the entire province.
As a result of the integration, not only Iran became self-sufficient in healthy manpower, but research also became more public health oriented and medical education more community oriented. The integration also led to an improvement in the health condition throughout the country, particularly in the villages, remote areas, and less developed provinces.
Now all villages and towns with less than 20,000 people have access to family practice physicians through the PHC system, and the plan is to do the same for all cities to move closer to the universal health coverage. Effort is also being made to decrease the out-of-pocket expenses from 52% to 30%.
Recently, the general health policies endorsed by the supreme leader have been communicated. By implementing these policies, a noticeable improvement is expected to materialize in different aspects including management.

Keywords: Health care reform, health status, Iran, primary health care, professional education, system integration.

S. Alireza Marandi. The Health Landscape of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Med J Islamic World Acad Sci. 2016; 24(2): 56-64

Corresponding Author: S. Alireza Marandi, Iran

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