Iran to Send Doctors to Saudi Arabia

February 18, 2001
MEDINA Iran is to dispatch doctors, nurses and university medical science professors to Saudi Arabia to meet the country's need for medical practitioners, the Head of the medical team for Iranian pilgrims, Hossein Ziaei-Ardekani, said here on Saturday.

An agreement, to be signed during an imminent visit to Tehran by the Saudi interior minister, will provide for expanded medical cooperation by the two countries.

"With the signing of the agreement, Iran will send doctors, nurses and medical science professors to work in Saudi Arabia," Ziaei said.

Iran, for the first time, is also sending a doctor to look after the health of pilgrims undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage this year.

Ziaei said the decision to send a medical practitioner for each departing group of Hajj pilgrims was taken by the Supreme Council of the Hajj.

"The dispatch of a doctor gives pilgrims better access to medical facilities and better confidence," he said.

The Hajj medical plan provides for one doctor to accompany each group of 150-200 pilgrims who will be responsible for providing for 85 percent of their medical needs, he said.

As for cases beyond the provisions of the plan, pilgrims who may be needing extra help are to be referred to the Iranian or Saudi hospitals in the country, Ziaei added.

A crew of 280 Iranians are providing medicare services in Saudi Arabia in Iranian hospitals which are equipped with the necessary medical equipment including a CCU unit and are each capable of accommodating 100 beds.

The government-run newspaper ****Iran**** said recently that between 150 and 200 medical specialists have already been sent to various Persian Gulf states as detailed in a project to export human resources.

It said others are still waiting for the government's green light to be dispatched to countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The physicians are sent for a contract period of six to 24 months.

According to official figures, Iran has some 40,000 medical specialists in addition to 100,000 medical personnel trained on the job. The majority are in Tehran and other major cities.

A health ministry official had announced in mid-July that the preliminary details of an agreement to export medical personnel to Saudi Rrabia were reached at a meeting held between the Iranian heath minister and his Saudi counterpart on the sidelines of the International Health Conference held in Mexico City.

(IRNA)