Why we are there?
- Health care exclusion
This is an excerpt from MSF's 2013 International Activity Report:
Rates of drug addiction in Iran remain high, yet many addicts have difficulty accessing the medical and psychological care they need.
The Iranian authorities have recognized that drug addiction and HIV infection are a growing public health concern, and have taken significant steps to initiate harm reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention among injected-drug users. However, the broad medical needs of high-risk groups remain acute, especially in Tehran, where drug users, sex workers and street children are stigmatized and are therefore unable to access the general health system.
In Darvazeh Ghar, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Tehran, MSF continued to run a health center dedicated to women and children under five who are excluded from healthcare, including undocumented refugees. Together with Iranian authorities and local organizations, MSF offered free, basic healthcare, including medical consultations for women and children, gynecological care, family planning, and postnatal care. A mental health program started in September, with treatment and support provided by a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
Iran’s Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs estimates that the country hosts 850,000 refugees, most of them Afghans. While registered refugees are granted private health insurance, those who are undocumented have limited access to healthcare.
At the end of 2013, MSF had 30 staff in Iran. MSF has worked in the country since 1996.