Iran has made tremendous progress in Medical Education and Health services

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MPH in Family Medicine was started in 20 universities in 2009
Iran has made tremendous progress in
Medical Education and Health services
Postgraduates have facilities to do Masters
in 99 disciplines & PhD in 84 disciplines
There are 20, 000 faculty members in various public
& private medical universities & the number of
postgraduates has increased three fold
during the last three decades

KARACHI: Despite sanctions and other hardships, Islamic Republic of Iran has made remarkable progress in the field of medical education and healthcare. It should serve as an eye opener for our health planners and others involved in these sectors and they can learn a lot and benefit from the experience of Iran instead of looking towards Europe and America all the time of which they are very fond of. We need indigenous solutions to our problems and the best way to learn and benefit is from the countries in this region which are faced with similar economic situation and environment.


Prof. Bagher Larijani
Vice Minister of Education
Ministry of Health and Medical
Education, Govt. of Iran.

Prof. Bagher Larijani is a world renowned Diabetologist and Endocrinologist who was earlier serving as Chancellor of Tehran University of Medical Sciences and is currently Director General for the Endocrinology & Metabolism Research Institute at Tehran University of Medical Sciences besides being the Vice Minister of Education in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. He was recently in Pakistan as an invited guest speaker at the Medics International Conference held at Karachi and Islamabad in the last week of December 2019. During one of the sessions at Karachi, he highlighted the developments and progress which Iran has made in the field of Medical Education and Health Services in his keynote address on Medical Education in Iran. He pointed out that Iran one of the greatest empires in the ancient world has focused on knowledge and wisdom. It was in 1918 that a College of Medicine was established as a separate independent medical school under Ministry of Science. Tehran University and Medical School was established in 1934 and in 1985, Medical Education and related disciplines were separated from Ministry of Science with the establishment of Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

Giving details of the present set up of the Ministry, Prof. Larijani said that it has Deputies for Education, Research, Culture and Student Affairs, Health, Curative Affairs, Administration and Finance besides Foods and Drugs. Health system in Iran went through various reforms in 1993 and with the approval of the Parliament, all health education schools were integrated with Ministry of Health and Medical Education. One ministry became responsible for clinical services and medical education. Currently Medical Education, Research and Healthcare Delivery services are all integrated which has gone a long way in improving the healthcare. There is at least one university of medical education and health services in each province though in some provinces there are more than one which are responsible not only for medical education but healthcare as well. The total number of medical universities in public and private sector are one hundred six and forty six medical schools are affiliated with Ministry of Health and Medical Education. During the last three decades there has been four fold growth in the number of medical universities. The number of various types of medical sciences schools in Iran are as under:

Speaking about the post-graduation facilities available in Iran, Prof. Bagher Larijani said that there are Masters Programme in 99 disciplines and PhD programmes in 84 disciplines. During the last three decades the number of students has increased three folds and by integration of medical education and health services, Iran has achieved self-sufficiency in health workforce. The number of Continuing Medical Education programmes has also increased from 96 in 1991 to 15,636 in the Year 2019. There are over twenty thousand faculty members affiliated with public and private sector medical universities. Higher education facilities have been developed in all the regions. The discipline of Family Medicine was given due importance through Health Transformation Plan involving GPs and Family Physicians. MPH in Family Medicine was started at twenty universities in 2009 and twelve hundred GPs were trained. Family Medicine Residency programme was started in 2016 at eight universities which has now available in ten universities.

Continuing Prof. Larijani said that we have developed collaboration with numerous universities and centers of excellence all over the world. Different Iranian Universities of Medical Sciences have entered into agreement and were collaborating with universities overseas. Iran at present also attracts large number of students from overseas the biggest number being from Iraq and Syria while third highest number of overseas students are from Pakistan. The number of overseas students has increased from one thousand in 2015 to four thousand in 2019. More than sixty curriculums have been revised to meet the community health needs. Fourteen non-medical and sixty six medical universities are offering three thousand eighteen programmes to the students. Research is also given lot of importance with emphasis on practical sciences, using applied and community oriented research methodologies. It is evident from the fact that as per Scopus database, Iran ranks No. 1 in the number of research papers published from this region. Iran’s contribution to world medical literature has also been increasing every year. We introduced reforms in medical education system giving importance to Innovations.

Virtual Medical
Science Universities

Now we have started virtual post graduate courses, developing software for LMS, MOOCs, more than one thousand faculty members have completed Masters Course in Medical Education. We have developed a Network of medical science universities in Learning Management System. He concluded his presentation by stating that integrated system of medical education, research and healthcare has made health systems more accountable and socially responsible. It provides sufficient human resource accessible for all throughout the country. There are many national centers in Iran where integrated approach is implemented and it can serve as a useful model for other countries. It also ensures development of human resource and multisectoral collaboration.