Pakistani health tourists encouraged to visit Iran

December 20, 2019 - 18:28

TEHRAN – A Pakistani health official has encouraged patients to travel to Iran for benefiting from the neighboring country’s experience in this sector.

“We are looking to increase health tourism cooperation with Iran and we will try to encourage liver patients in Pakistan, if possible, to travel to Iran and utilize its medical and therapeutic capacities,” Dr. Mian Aziz Ur- Rehman, the CEO of Pak HealthCare, was quoted by IRNA as saying on Wednesday.

A team of experienced Iranian physicians and surgeons from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex conducted first-ever free liver transplant and hepatitis camp in Pakistan on December 17 and 18.

The Pak Health Care center in Lahore initiated the event to invite Iranian specialists and liver transplant surgeons and hold a two-day conference with the aim of screening patients with liver and hepatitis.

The team led by Dr. Ali Jafarian, the head of liver transplant department of the Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex, examined liver transplants and hepatitis patients, who were come from all over Pakistan.

The patients who have been facing difficulties due to non-issuance of an Indian visa for the treatment got the opportunity to be checked by experienced doctors from Iran’s largest liver transplant hospital, the report said.

The patients and their relatives welcomed the Iranian medical camp saying they would prefer Iran to other countries for the liver transplant due to highly-experienced doctors and facilities available in the country.

Dr. Jafarian, who also served as vice-chancellor of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), and his team visited Pakistan on the special request of Pak Health Care center keeping in view the problems faced by liver transplant and hepatitis patients.

Earlier Pakistani liver transplant patients used to travel to India as cost of the treatment is low as compared to western hospitals, however, for quite some time India has stopped issuing the medical visa to Pakistani patients.

Iran is among the top ten countries in the world in liver transplants. The Iranian transplant facility is highly equipped and cheaper than other countries with higher success rates.

The first liver transplant surgery in the world was performed in 1964, but it was not until 1980 that it was confirmed as a treatment. Iran saw its first liver transplant surgery in 1993 in Namazi hospital in Shiraz, IRAN said.

Many domestic experts say that medical tourism in Iran produces win-win outcomes as the country yields considerable benefits to international health-care seekers, offering affordable yet quality treatment services.

People from the Persian Gulf littoral states, Iraq and Syria as well as Iranian expatriates residing in Canada and Germany constituted the majority of medical travelers to the Islamic Republic, who received plastic, cosmetic, open-heart and orthopedic surgeries amongst other treatments, Mohammad Panahi, a deputy for the association, said in July.

Medical tourism fetched Iran some $1.2 billion last year, Panahi said, adding that the figure has increased by 20-30 percent in the first four months of this year.

Iran hosted a record high of nearly 600,000 medical travelers during the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-July 21), nearly equal to the figure for the whole past year, according to an Iranian association for the health tourism promotion.

The country has set its goals to exceed its yearly medical travelers to around 2 million in [calendar year] 1404 (March 2025-March 2026).

AFM/MG

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