|Looking at Health Care
All Iranians are entitled to limited, government-assisted health care. Prescription drugs, for example, are subsidized and thus less costly than in Canada. The government also sponsors preventative initiatives such as vaccination programs, and provides benefits such as partially paid maternity leave to working women.
Western-style medical care is available in Iran, yet most facilities are located in major cities, particularly Tehran. Hospitals charge small fees for basic treatment and offer better services at higher fees. Outside of the major centres, people rely more on traditional healers, midwives and medicines, although portable clinics sometimes offer care.
Life expectancy in Iran averages 69 years, although the country has a high infant mortality rate. During and after the war with Iraq, many Iranians sought medical care for trauma and stress. Lack of clean water and proper sewage disposal remain ongoing concerns and have caused widespread parasitic and gastrointestinal diseases, the major causes of illness in Iran.
Prior to the revolution, Iran had a shortage of medical staff; many physicians also emigrated during the revolution. The new government expanded the health care system by constructing facilities and encouraging students to attend medical school; now, the number health care workers is significantly higher. Iranian doctors have personal relationships with their patients: they make house calls and spend time talking with and listening to patients. Doctors also explain their diagnoses and procedures.