0637 GMT November 19, 2019
The medical progress made in Iran alongside valuable experiments gained in various fields of health and treatment caused the country to be introduced as a distinguished model among the Islamic countries, said the caretaker of the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.
Alireza Zali told Iran Daily that the World Health Organization confirmed not only the accuracy and efficiency of health patterns observed in Iran but also the pivotal role played by the country in the field of health, treatment and medical sciences.
He said presently Islamic countries are faced with a large number of common medical challenges including ecological variations, environmental problems, demographic transitions, and an increase in risk-prone health behaviors among people.
“An increase in life expectancy as well as the complexities created by modern life in the field of health have caused the health-related issues to become a common concern among the Islamic countries”, he said.
Referring to the Fourth International Health Congress of Islamic Countries held in Tehran from Oct.9-11, he said Iran has managed to host the health tourism conference of Islamic countries because the country has achieved a high position in the field of medical sciences during the past years.
He noted that Health Tourism Development Center of Islamic countries was established in Iran five years ago.
Zali, who also acts as the advisor to Parliament’s Health and Treatment Commission, said about 800,000 medical tourists arrived in Iran in the year to March 2019.
He noted that there is no exact figure available in this regard because the information of some foreign visitors in Iran from neighboring countries to receive medical services has not been collected.
“Even if no change were to be made in the health, treatment and medical sector of the country, we are capable of hosting 1.5 million health tourists annually,” he said, adding that making any improvement in the infrastructure of Iran’s medical sector would help increase the figure to 2.5 million.
Pointing to the implementation of economic resistance policies in the country, he said given that efforts are underway by officials to manage an economy without oil in Iran, health tourism is one of the best opportunities which can be used to earn revenues for the country.
Zali said the amount of hard currency brought to the country by a medical tourist is three-to fivefold higher than that by an ordinary tourist.
The official said the ground has been prepared in Iran to develop rehabilitation tourism, ecotourism, and geotourism sectors, pointing out that efforts should be made to provide the condition for foreign patients to use such facilities for convalescence.
He said a large number of natural attractions including warm and mineral water springs are in Iran which can be used for treating various diseases.
“They are also attractive for healthy people willing to improve their well-being,” he concluded.