Health sector holds 15% share in national budget

April 20, 2021 - 19:17

TEHRAN – Some 15 percent of the national budget for the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 20) has been allocated to the health sector, deputy health minister Kamel Taqavinejad has said.

The national budget bill has proposed 1.5 quadrillion rials (around $35 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials) for the healthcare system, a more than twofold increase compared to the last year’s budget of 700 trillion rials (nearly $16 billion).

Last year, despite all the constraints on funding, was a successful year for the Ministry of Health and the universities. This year, with the efforts made to increase the budget this year, good capacity has been predicted for medical universities, Taqavinejad said.

The health system accounts for approximately 15 percent of the total public budget. Over 90 percent of the health system’s budget is provided from government and public resources and 10 percent from private resources, which are gained from the health system and hospitals, he explained.

Taqavinejad went on to add that the budget is spent on health, treatment, research, and development in the health sector and higher education, IRNA reported on Tuesday.

The largest increase in the budget health system budget is allocated to medical universities, with a 73 percent increase compared to the last year’s budget, he highlighted.

The share of health services in the budget is 70 percent, while primary healthcare services and research hold a share of 18 and 12 percent, respectively.

The share of traditional medicine in the health budget has grown by 6 percent.

In the area of the health reform plan, there has not been a considerable budget growth.

Health reform plan and dealing with crises

The coronavirus outbreak proved that one-dimensional health systems cannot survive health-threatening crises, which occur every few years in the form of infectious diseases so that the need for healthcare reforms should be brought into sharp focus.

It is essential to know that as much as creating new hospital beds, developing hospitals, renovating dilapidated hospital tissue, and upgrading medical centers are important; the establishment of comprehensive health centers, health houses, health workers training, the launch of electronic health records for the people, and numerous screening schemes, medical supply, quantitative and qualitative improvement of medical education, and medical research are of great importance which needs to be considered.

The healthcare reform plan, aiming at decreasing the out-of-pocket expenses for the patients, promoting natural birth, and supporting underprivileged patients suffering from rare or incurable diseases, was launched in the country in May 2014.

A plan that has succeeded in enforcing many of the health-deferred laws and regulations, and continues to do so despite all the credit and manpower deficiencies.

Increased access to medicine and treatment was among the achievements of the plan. In addition, 11 million Iranians without any health insurance were covered by public insurance.

Prior to the project, public spending on healthcare services was more than 50 percent. Meanwhile, with the implementation of the plan, the share of payment from the pockets of patients in the field of health has decreased to 32.4 percent.

The plan started supporting physicians in deprived areas, which increased the number of doctors to more than 4,300 general practitioners, specialists, and subspecialists, resulting in increased access to medical treatment.

About 1,100 comprehensive healthcare centers across the country are now offering medical services to patients and providing the necessary care since the onset of the epidemic.

One of the important health capacities that came to the aid of the country in the coronavirus crisis was the electronic health record, and according to the Minister of Health Saeed Namaki, at least 75 million Iranians with a national code can file electronic health records.

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