Tehran, Kabul discuss ways to broaden medical tourism co-op

December 29, 2019 - 18:45

TEHRAN – Iranian and Afghan officials on Saturday exchanged views on ways to deepen health cooperation in a wide-ranging arenas, including medical tourism, education and student scholarships.

The follow-up session was attended by Mohsen Asadi-Lari, the director of international cooperation office of Iran’s Ministry of Health, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tehran Abdul Ghafoor Liwal, and several physicians and experts from the two neighboring countries, IRNA reported.

The Iranian health ministry has so far granted licenses to over 50 medical tourism companies with the aim of organizing authorized facilitators for the booming business, Asadi-Lari said.

The official also noted that Iran has launched a special system in this regard to facilitate traveling, medical treatments and accommodation, adding more than 150 specialized centers are offering services to medical travelers across Iran.

Talking about medical trade and education, Asadi-Lari said, “So far, 500 scholarships have been granted to Afghan students in all fields of medicine, and currently 590 Afghan students are studying at medical universities across Iran.”

“Iran has also held specialized training courses for more than 40 cardiologists, general practitioners and anesthesiologists in the holy city of Mashhad.”

Admissions are not limited to [medical and health travelers from] the neighboring countries as the Islamic Republic has so far received requests from Central European and North African countries requesting for treatment.

The Afghan envoy for his part said development of relations and cooperation in the field of health tourism is one of the priorities for cooperation between the two countries.

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.

According to officials, Iranian hospitals admitted 70,000 foreign patients over the last [Iranian calendar] year (March 2018 – March 2019). Some 90 percent of foreign patients in Iran are from Afghanistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and other countries around the Persian Gulf.

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.

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


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