The Middle East Eye reports that as Iran battles the coronavirus pandemic, many Iranian doctors and nurses have chosen to emigrate for better pay and working conditions. Iran is seeing an exodus of its healthcare professionals, with more than 3 000 healthcare workers having reportedly emigrated over the last 10 months.
The Medical Council of Iran, a non-governmental organization and the main national regulatory body for medical professionals, said that around 200 healthcare workers have died of Covid-19 since the global pandemic began. Iran has been hard hit by the pandemic, with 1.64 million positive cases and more than 60 000 deaths.
Mohammad Jahangiri, a senior official at the Medical Council of Iran, said that medical professionals have no incentive to remain in Iran. Jahangiri said, “It takes a person 12 years to get a diploma and 12 years to get a specialty of medicine, which means the government spends 24 years training these doctors, but it does not provide any stimulus to keep them inside the country.” He added, “In fact, we seem to train doctors to [export] them to other countries.”
The MME reports that even before the unprecedented challenges to Iran’s healthcare system as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Iran was already losing its medical professionals. In 2019, Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s deputy health minister, revealed that around 15 000 qualified physicians were no longer practicing in the country. They had either emigrated or had changed their profession. He added that annually, the country was losing more than 1 000 nurses. Already back then, according to Harirchi, there were only 1.6 general practitioners, dentists and specialists, to every 1000 Iranians.
Umm Muhammed Umar