Claimed footage of a demonstration in Tabriz in northwest Iran last night
Unofficial figures say healthcare costs [in Iran] have increased between 20 to 40 per cent in recent months.
Masoud Javanbakht, a member of Iran’s Medical Council, a body that represents doctors, warned last month that only 25 per cent of Iran’s 75m population can afford hospital care. Mr Javanbakht told the semi-official Fars news agency that 30 per cent of households stood to lose not only their incomes but also all their savings if a household member were hospitalised. In theory, more than 32m Iranians are covered by the state’s social security fund, which runs some hospitals directly. A parallel organisation, the medical service insurance organisation, covers a further 23m people living mainly in more rural areas. In addition, state employees, such as members of the armed forces and teachers, have their own dedicated health insurance funds. But state-run hospitals are often of poor quality, and staff are badly paid and under-motivated. Waiting lists for operations run up to six months. As a result, 70 per cent of outpatient services are supplied by the private sector.
Masoud Pezeshkian, a former health minister and now a member of the parliament’s health committee, says an operation involving a stay at an intensive care unit can cost more than IR60m ($5,600). “This fee is very high for those who have [low] salaries or are jobless because their assets are not so much to be able to make up for the fees,” Mr Pezeshkian says.
Anoushiravan Mohseni-Bandepay, deputy head of the parliament’s health committee, says what the patient must pay can account for about 60 per cent of treatment while the share covered by public insurance is only about 40 per cent. When it comes to outpatient services, such as pathological and radiological tests, Mr Mohseni-Bandepay says families have to pay on average 65 per cent of expenses.