Current trends in the health sector of Iran

Healthcare and wellbeing are among the fundamentals of every society and its importance should be elevated in a more populated one. Iran with almost 80 million people (2013 Census), mostly young (around 60% under 50 years old), is not an exception to the rule. That large population demands a great deal of various health services which have been engaging many organizations and businesses for resolving the health-related issues in the country. What are the current trends in the health sector of Iran?

The centralized health sector of Iran is extremely dependent on public sector and despite of existence of private sector and NGOs; all the decisions and procedures should be in parallel with the strategies of Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education. There are approximately more than 800 medical institutions and 100,000 hospital beds. Advancing from highly educated and experienced specialist doctors in the country, who are also available privately with affordable prices, approximately 200,000 healthcare/wellbeing visitors and 30,000 medical tourists have visited Iran during the past few years annually.

As a result of experiencing years under different EU-US sanctions, the unexpected and outrageous fluctuations of Iranian currency to USD and consequently, the national policies for promoting domestic and cost-effective production, there have been many progresses and innovatory productions by local businesses and researchers. Pharmaceutical industry, as core of healthcare, has been considerably growing particularly during the sanctions and its market value was 2.5 billion USD in 2014. Iran now is exporting healthcare services to some of its neighbors and also African countries like Kenya. Easing the sanctions, increasing rate of imported medicines and services in line with exporting the health services to other countries will be elevating the market growth in the coming years.

However, in spite of all the emerged developments, another piece of news estimated that at least 167000 hospital beds are still required to fulfill the current demands and by rule of thumbs, there is a need for building about 200 hospitals with 1000 beds. Currently, Iran is struggling with serious health issues including the followings:

  • Air pollution
  • Cancer disease
  • Road accident injuries and deaths
  • Diabetes and stroke
  • Post-surgery problems
  • Lack of hospitals and clinics with advanced facilities

The alarming air pollution indexes and decreasing level of precipitation put the country’s air quality generally as moderate to poor specially in the bigger cities. Tehran, capital of Iran with about 15 million metropolitan population is in a more hazardous condition in a way that sometimes schools have to be shut and older people have to avoid going outside.

One of the side effects of the air pollution is the increasing incidence rates of different disease such as stroke and various cancers. There are lots of nationwide preventive care programs mainly for cancers and also other informative health programs mainly to instruct people for post-stroke, diabetes and generally having a healthy lifestyle because of existing water pollution and inadequate garbage disposal system.

Comparing to the global standards, unfortunately Iran is among the countries with higher risk of road accidents’ fatality. There are many contributing factors to the considerable amount of car crashes in Iran including inadequate services for public transportation, ever-increasing number of private cars, affordable penalty fines, ineffective road bans, huge traffic jams as a result of complicated urban structure specially in the bigger cities.

Another issue is the increasing rate of surgical problems, mainly because of the ongoing trend of beauty surgeries in Iran particularly among the younger generation. This trend, not only demands providing considerable amount of surgical facilities, but also causes many post-surgery side effects which needs to be rectified. Therefore, there are currently many beauty clinics and hospitals that have to continually increase or update their equipment and systems, from laser technologies to clean rooms, in order to minimize the treatments’ risks.

Considering the aforementioned issues in a populous Iran, there are huge demands for updating the infrastructure of the current health care services or constructing new facilities. There are many under construction or new projects for building different sizes hospitals which are mostly announced through tenders from both public and private sectors. Tenders are usually in Persian, and to accomplishing the application processes, and possibly winning them, it is recommended to follow the cases through local networks or benchmark them. There are also various opportunities to reconstruct and renovate the old hospitals, and equip them with newer technologies and accessories. Reportedly, there are many ongoing projects in collaboration with European companies including building 320-beds hospitals in different cities with Austria and construction of a vast Neurosurgery center in Tehran with Germany.

To summarize trends in the health sector of Iran

There are certainly many opportunities in the country, potential of engaging different health service providers particularly from the following sectors:

  • Hospital/health-care/clinic construction
  • Medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical production
  • Cancer treatment
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Organ transplants
  • Manufacturing surgical equipment
  • Advanced automotive health technologies
  • Educational health and well-being programs
  • Clean air/Solutions for air pollution
  • Water purification/desalination
  • Garbage disposal systems
  • Waste management
  • Medical tourism
  • Nursing services/daycare

It is undisputedly important to evaluate the market in advance by reviewing the relevant sources. Also, it is highly recommended to participate in the field-specific exhibitions in the country both for advertising the products/services and also having a tactile experience of the differences in business culture trough networking with the locals.

East Consulting’s team of experts are delighted to announce their readiness for supporting the interested businesses during Iran Health 2017, the next important health exhibition in Tehran, May 2017. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Jonne Pöyhtäri
Managing Director
040 412 3945

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