Iran provides free treatment to refugees with rare diseases

March 2, 2022 - 19:0

TEHRAN – All refugees with rare diseases residing in Iran are provided with free medical services and medication and are exempt from paying treatment costs, the deputy head of the Health Insurance Organization has announced.

All refugees with special diseases such as hemophilia, thalassemia, dialysis patients (hemodialysis-peritoneal), kidney transplantation, and MS, like Iranian nationals, can receive all treatment and medication free of charge, IRNA quoted Mehdi Rezaei as saying on Wednesday.

The Health Insurance Organization is covering 47,000 refugees in the current Iranian calendar year (ending March 20).

Iran’s universal public health insurance scheme, known as Salamat Health Insurance, covers hospitalization, para-clinical and outpatient services, including doctor’s visits, radiology, lab tests, and medication costs at any public hospital affiliated with the Ministry of Health.

Vulnerable refugees with the support of the UNHCR and Iran are insured free of charge. However, those who are financially able should pay their insurance premiums, Jafar Rahimi, deputy director of the Health Insurance Organization, said.

Over 2 trillion rials (nearly $7.5 million) have been spent to provide insurance to foreign nationals this year, he further said.

Refugees condition

Based on the latest statistics, over 3 million Afghans are living in Iran - some 780,000 Afghan refugees, over 2 million undocumented Afghans, and another 600,000 Afghan passport-holders with Iranian visas.

However, in light of the pandemic, all refugees, even those undocumented, benefited from access to free primary health services and free COVID-19 related testing, treatment, and hospitalization, just like Iranian nationals.

The same happened for the vaccination when the country has generously considered refugees for vaccination against coronavirus.

The recent fast-paced turn of events in Afghanistan has the potential to create additional population movements; displacing families internally and potentially driving them to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

It is estimated that up to 300,000 Afghan asylum-seekers have fled to Iran this year alone in search of safety, while UNHCR has only been able to screen some 24,000 newly arrived Afghans for protection needs.

António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has praised Iran’s generosity which – for decades – has hosted millions of Afghans in need.

“At this moment, we need the global community to put their hands on the wheel of progress, provide resources, and prevent Afghanistan from spiraling any further.

I will never forget the generosity of countries like Pakistan and Iran, which – for decades – have hosted millions of Afghans in need,” Guterres said in a statement released on January 26 to the Security Council on Afghanistan.

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