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Fewer Iranians Go To Doctors And Hospitals Due To Declining Incomes

People standing in front of a cashier's window at a hospital in Iran, undated. FILE PHOTO

The number of people visiting national health centers in Iran has dropped 30% in the last Iranian calendar year (ending March 21, 2019), says the deputy head of the Salamat (Health) Insurance and Health Services, Kourosh Farzin.

"Health services' costs have increased in Iran so significantly that they are not proportional to the families' income," Farzin noted, adding, "People do not visit physicians for their routine health problems, anymore."

The reason behind the drop, Farzin believes, is not lack of insurance, but the fact that everything has turned more expensive, compared with the previous year.

"Families' income in relation to the costs of health services has dropped to the extent that people prefer to treat minor health complications, such as cold, by resting at home rather than visiting a general practitioner," Farzin has reiterated.

The value of Iranian national currency, the rial, has dropped significantly in the past two years, while the costs of medicine and health services have been skyrocketing.

"It is unacceptable that prior to the U.S. sanctions, they used to sell a package of Aspirin for 420k rials (approximately $12.60), but, immediately after the imposition of sanctions, they raised the price to 1,450,000 rials (roughly $43.50)," the chairman of Majles (parliament) Health and Treatment Commission, Ali Nobakht, recently complained.

Last October, the Islamic Republic Ministry of Health admitted that 3.76% of the country's 80m+ population annually drop into poverty because of large medical expenses.

Referring to the long lines of people at cheaper public hospitals, the Fars news agency also concluded that Iranians' purchasing power had dropped.

Many people are relying on self-treatment since they cannot afford to visit health centers and physicians, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-linked news agency maintained.