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Hospital in TehranHospital in Tehran

Healthcare in Iran


Healthcare in Iran can be split into three sectors – the public-governmental system, the private sector, and NGOs. As a result of Iran’s growing population, there is a lot of pressure of the public healthcare system in Iran. Despite this, the Iranian public healthcare system performs fairly well and standards of healthcare in the country are steadily improving.


There are very few, if any, reciprocal medical arrangements between Iran and other countries so expats should be prepared to pay for medical insurance. In many cases, this expense will be covered by an expat’s employer in Iran. Thankfully, the costs are negligible for most Western expats.


The quality of hospitals varies according to location, but in the bigger cities such as Tehran, expats will find hospitals that meet international standards with well-trained medical staff.


Expats moving to Iran must have appropriate health insurance cover as they will need to seek treatment at private facilities. Although the gap between public and private hospitals in Iran is not huge. Private hospitals do offer a better class of facilities and speedier service.


Public healthcare in Iran

In line with the national constitution, Iranians are entitled to basic healthcare and most receive subsidized prescription drugs and vaccinations. While public healthcare is not free in Iran, around 90 percent of treatment costs will be covered by the state in most cases, so costs remain minimal. Iran does have an extensive network of public clinics and hospitals which offer basic healthcare are low cost.




Most public hospital facilities in Iran are operated by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and provide a decent standard of service although waiting times are often long.


Private healthcare in Iran

Wealthier Iranians opt to use private clinics and hospitals which offer a higher standard of care and better facilities. However, the cost of treatment at such facilities can be quite high.


Despite the cost, private healthcare in Iran is still fairly cheap in comparison to other neighboring countries especially Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, India and Pakistan.


Health hazards in Iran

Malaria can be a risk is rural parts of Iran (south of Kerman City) so it is best to take the necessary precautions such as keeping well covered and avoiding being bitten by mosquitos by using an effective repellent.


Cholera outbreaks do occur during the summer months, so it’s best to drink bottled water at all times to be on the safe side.


The most common problem experienced by new arrivals is sunstroke and sunburn. Be careful about spending too much time outdoors and take precautionary measures such as wearing hats and sunblock. It’s also wise to keep well hydrated especially in the summer months.



Iran has a fairly well-developed pharmaceutical industry. Pharmacies can easily be found in all major towns and cities in Iran. Pharmacies in Iran stock most types of medication and if something is not available they can usually order it in. Iranian citizens can have the cost of their medication reimbursed through the state-sponsored health insurance system.


Expats will need to pay for the medication and then claim it back through their health insurance. Medication in Iran is generally affordable but there is a strict regulatory environment when it comes to importing drugs and pharmaceuticals into the country, therefore expats should ensure they carry all the necessary paperwork when traveling with medication.


Emergency services in Iran

Emergency services in Iran are improving but remain somewhat limited, especially outside the main cities. The emergency medical system in Iran makes use of ambulances, helicopters, motorcycle, ambulances and sea ambulances but on occasion, this apparatus comes under strain. In many instances, in the event of an emergency, it may be faster to get oneself to the hospital via private transport instead of waiting for an ambulance.


There are different emergency numbers in use in Iran for each of the following services :

General emergency number – 118

  • Ambulance – 115
  • Fire – 125
  • Police – 110 or 112

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