Iran - Health

In 1999, there were 54 reported cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people; one quarter of visits to health centers have been attributed to respiratory disease. Health expenditure comprised4.2% of the gross domestic product as of 1999. Beginning in the 1960s, national campaigns against such major diseases as malaria and smallpox were undertaken. Other major health problems included high infant mortality, smallpox outbreaks, venereal disease, trachoma, typhoid fever, amoebic dysentery, malaria, tuberculosis, and the debilitating effects of smoking opium. The creation in 1964 of a health corps, consisting of physicians and high-school graduates who agreed to spend the period of their military service serving in semimobile medical units in rural areas, helped to reduce the death rate. Roving health corps teams, comprising a doctor, a dentist, a pathologist, and (when possible) a nurse, served the villages, offering medical services to 10,000– 15,000 rural inhabitants annually. As of 2002, the death rate was estimated at 5.4 per 1,000 people. The infant mortality rate in 2000 was 33 per 1,000 live births.

The Islamic republic has continued to provide health care programs to rural areas. As of 1999, there were an estimated 0.9 physicians and 1.6 hospital beds per 1,000 people. In 1991, there were 4,847 dentists in Iran. Many physicians left the country after the 1979 revolution and health conditions were reportedly deteriorating; however, by the mid-1980s, many doctors who had been in exile during the shah's reign had returned. Between 1989– 95, 80% of the population had access to health care services. As of 1999, total health care expenditure was estimated at 4.2% of GDP. Average life expectancy in 2000 was estimated at 69 years for both women and men. In 2000, 95% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 81% had adequate sanitation. Some form of contraceptive was used by 73% of married women ages 15–49 as of 2000. Iran's estimated birth rate in 2002 was 17.5 per 1,000 people. In 1994, children up to one year old were immunized against tuberculosis, 100%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 95%; polio, 95%; and measles, 95%.

The prevalence of low birth weight babies has risen from 4% of all births in 1980 to 10% in 1999. As of 2000, 16% of all children were malnourished. Cholera was reported in 2,177 individuals. Malaria cases are high; in 1993 there were 65,000 reported cases. AIDS was documented in only seven cases. As of 1999, the prevalence of HIV was less than 0.01 per 100 adults.

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