Iran still choice of Iraqis seeking health, medical services

December 14, 2020 - 20:25

TEHRAN – Despite coronavirus restrictions, Iran is still a destination for Iraqi nationals who are willing to receive health and medical services in the Islamic Republic.

“Even in the current situation in which travels are highly overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak, a significant number of Iraqis still travel to Iran pursuing medical treatments,” Ilam province’s tourism chief Abdolmalek Shanbezadeh said on Monday.

“Most of the health travelers -- who come to Iran from Iraq – are seeking cosmetic surgeries such as the rhinoplasty and hair transplants,” the official noted.

Medical tourism is the only traveling sector active in Ilam province, which shares its western border with Iraq, he stated.

Many domestic experts believe that medical tourism in Iran is a win-win opportunity both for the country and foreign patients, as they are offered affordable yet quality treatment services and the country gains considerable foreign currency, however, all forecasts and preparations in this field have changed.

Iranian hospitals admitted nearly 70,000 foreign patients over the Iranian calendar year 1397 (March 2018 – March 2019) and it made an economic contribution of around $1.2 billion to the country, according to the medical tourism department at the Ministry of Health.

According to available data compiled by the tourism ministry, some two million Iraqi nationals visited Iran during the first seven months of the Iranian calendar year 1397, turning the country into Iran’s largest source of tourists.