Iran’s medical centres have been influential in medical tourism for a long time due to their high-quality and skilled doctors. The demand, especially from Iran’s neighbouring countries, for treatments such as infertility, general surgeries, and beauty is very significant.
About 220 medical centres, including hospitals, limited surgery, and infertility centres, have received an official certificate from International Patient Department (IPD) from the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. Non- Iranians patients who submit their requests through hospitals holding IPD certificates will be sure they are on the right track for treatment.
Dr. Mohammad Reza Tarjoman, Head of the Health Tourism Department of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, in an exclusive interview with Explore Iran, presents a picture of the conditions of presence of non-Iranians applying for medical treatment.
To what extent have Iranian medical centres and hospitals attracted international patients?
The demand for obtaining the certification of the International Patient Department (IPD) is increasing in Iranian medical centres. So far, 220 medical centres in the country, including 200 hospitals, 17 Outpatient centres, two clinics, and two infertility treatment centres, have received this certification. Medical centres are equipping themselves more than in the past to be ready to attract international patients.
The conditions such as holding IPD certification are that the hospitals could provide translators fluent in Arabic and English as well as a particular doctor for the requests of international patients.
Providing appropriate and qualified medical services to international patients is essential for the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education. An active statistical system is established, and we monitor the entry of foreign patients into the country.
More than one million foreign patients were referred to Iran’s medical centres for treatment in 170 countries in the Iranian solar year 1400 (Starting 21 March 2021 – March 2022).
What advantages are there in Iran’s medical and health market that has attracted applicants from other countries?
It is necessary to emphasize that the quality of treatment in Iran is an essential advantage for medical tourism compared to countries in the region and many parts of the world. Many Iranian doctors have scientific boards and chairs in the most famous universities.
A heart transplant or lung transplant is a rare surgery worldwide, but it is successfully performed in Iran. Iranian doctors are very well-known for transplanting organs such as limbs, kidneys, cornea, and retina, and cochlear and liver transplantation. It should be noted that liver transplantation in Iranian medical centres has had a success rate of over 95%.
Regarding organ transplantation, I need to mention an important point. We have made remarkable achievements in organ transplant surgery in Iran. All organ transplants are performed in Iran’s hospitals rightly. One of the limitations of organ transplants worldwide is organ trafficking, which has been legally prohibited in Iran and is strongly emphasized. Genetic testing must be done for organ transplantation. Those who are donors and recipients of organs must be related to rule out the issue of organ trafficking.
The number of infertility treatment applicants in Iran is also significant from neighbouring and non-neighbouring countries. All medical universities in Iran have infertility treatment research centres. Many of these centres are applying for IPD certificates in order to be able to respond to these requests as much as possible.
The next point is to provide excellent ophthalmology services in Iran. It is interesting to know that much ophthalmic equipment is also made in Iran, which is very valuable.
In which groups were the majority of non-Iranian clients’ requests for treatment?
Most of their requests are primarily in skin and beauty services. After that, the services related to the treatment of infertility, ophthalmology, cardiology and stenting, orthopaedics, replacement of large joints of organs, and surgery, and after that, a series of services and referrals related to specialized and subspecialized fields. Applicants also come for cancer treatment, transplants, and dental services, and the reason for this is related to the high quality of medical services and reasonable rates of treatment in Iran.
The last question is related to the issue of international accreditation of Iran’s medical centres by internationally recognized centres. This certificate is necessary for non-Iranian patients who want to use medical services. What are the obstacles that hospitals may not be able to obtain this certificate?
We welcome international health system audits for accreditation certificates.
JCI and ICI are non-profit organizations that grant these certificates in Canada or the United States of America. Some of our hospitals are applying for these certificates. However, the issue of political relations and sanctions has had an impact on the work and cooperation of these institutions.