Due to medical treatment expenses, 7 percent of Iran's population annually below poverty level

Due to medical treatment expenses, 7 percent of Iran's population annually below poverty level

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 4 / Trend, S. Isayev, T. Jafarov

Due to costs of medical treatment, approximately 7 percent of Iran's population annually are below poverty level, Iran's Minister of health, Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said, ISNA reported.

He added that for the Ministry of Health, it is a priority to keep the drug market stable until the end of the current solar year.

"If we can get the necessary amount of money for insurance from the state budget, then the tariffs in the governmental hospitals would change, and the income will increase," he said.

Hashemi noted that currently, due to economic situation in Iran, about 15000 doctors in the country are busy doing other kind of work, instead of their direct duties. Thus, as he said, there is a need to have 2000 more doctors and nurses in hospitals.

Hashemi said back in September that at least 500 trillion rials (about $20 billion based on the U.S dollar's official exchange rate of 24,800 rials) of health sector budget has been spent during President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration in the Mehr housing project.

Large amounts of money which should have been spent on the health sector, were spent on the Mehr housing project, and this issue caused many problems in the healthcare system, Hashemi said back then.

He also said that due to the budget deficit, some of the health ministry employees have not received their salaries for 15 months and a large number of physicians have left their posts.

The minister underscored that that 56 percent of the country's hospitals are worn-out, there is severe shortage of nurses and beds, adding that 50 trillion rials of the subsidy reform plan revenues which should have been allocated to the health sector in the past two years have not been allocated so far.

He also said that it would take at least 6 months to resolve the medicine-related problems in Iran.

Iran experiences certain difficulties with drug shortages in the country largely because of international sanctions imposed on Iran due to its disputed nuclear programme.

Despite the fact that sanctions do not directly target medical supplies and food, many companies refuse to deal with Iran fearing the impact of sanctions.

Due to these western led sanctions, only a handful of international banks are willing to transfer currencies on behalf of Iran to purchase medicine which is leading to a shortage of imported drugs.

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