Health Tourism: Why Iran

Beside the beautiful landscape, historical sites and the religious shrines that attract millions of tourists to Iran each year, Iran is an example of a country that has made considerable advances through education and training, despite international sanctions in almost all aspects of research during the past 30 years. The country’s scientific progress is reported to be the fastest in the world and medical system is one of the sciences.

A portrait

A portrait of Avecina

The practice and study of medicine in Iran has a long and prolific history. Situated at the crossroads of the East and West, Persia was often involved in developments in ancient Greek and Indian medicine; pre- and post-Islamic Iran have been involved in medicine as well. The first teaching hospital where medical students methodically practiced on patients under the supervision of physicians was the Academy of Gundishapur in the Persian Empire. Some experts go so far as to claim that: “to a very large extent, the credit for the whole hospital system must be given to Persia.”

After the Islamic conquest of Iran, medicine continued to flourish with the rise of notables such as Zakaria Al Razi and Avecina. Modern academic medicine began in Iran when Joseph Cochran established a medical college in Urmia in 1878. Cochran is often credited for founding Iran’s “first contemporary medical college”.

Nowadays, with over 400 medical research facilities and 76 medical magazine indexes available in the country, Iran is the 19th country in medical research and is set to become the 10th within 10 years.  Clinical sciences are invested in highly in Iran. In areas such as rheumatology, hematology, and bone marrow transplantation, Iranian medical scientists publish regularly.  The Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Research Center (HORC) of Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Shariati Hospital was established in 1991. Internationally, this center is one of the largest bone marrow transplantation centers and has carried out a large number of successful transplantation.

Moreover, Iran is renowned for their hot springs and traditional medicines. Sirch (Kerman), Sar’eyn (Ardabil) and Geno (Bandar Abbas) are notable hot springs in Iran.

Gavmish goli hot spring in Sarain, Ardebil province

Gavmish goli hot spring in Sarain, Ardebil province

Iran seems to be an ideal destination for health tourism. Affordability is another key factor bringing patients to Iran. Patients can undergo treatment, recover and enjoy a holiday in Iran for much less than what it would cost them for treatment in other countries. The medical service in Iran is cheap while the healthcare establishments are well equipped and professional. Currently 30,000 foreign patients who are most from the neighbour countries come to Iran to receive medical treatments. Medical Tourism in Iran has been patronized by tourists looking for critical medical treatment as well as by people in need of cosmetic and preventative care.


A surgery in an Iranian hospital

And let’s not forget the Iranian legendary hospitality. This hospitality is not only about dinner tables and the various dishes presented on them for the guests but it is a culture of the society which exists in Iranian medical establishment and  practised by doctors and the staff of hospitals and medical groups. They ensure the highest level of professionalism, safety and care to patients.

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