A baby with heart ailment in a Tehran hospital. Undated

Iranian Medical Council Warns Of Pediatric Heart Surgeons' Emigration

Saturday, 03/16/2024

Iran's Medical Council warns of rising emigration of pediatric heart specialists and surgeons, leaving hundreds of sick children without care, sparking concerns.

In a report released on Friday, the council highlighted the recent departure of yet another pediatric heart transplant surgeon from Iran, revealing that the waiting list for patients under this doctor's care is already full for the next two years, with 638 children in need of surgery.

The concerning trend comes at a time when, according to the Iranian Medical Council's statistics, between 10,000 to 15,000 children are born annually with congenital heart diseases in Iran. With 70 to 80 percent of the cases requiring surgical intervention, the shortage of specialized medical professionals poses a significant challenge.

The situation is compounded by the scarcity of doctors capable of performing complex infant surgeries, with the report indicating that the number of such specialists is less than five. Additionally, the waiting list for pediatric heart surgeries at Tehran's Shahid Rajaei Hospital, the largest heart surgery center in Iran, is already filled until 2026.

The sharp devaluation of Iran's currency and 50-percent annual inflation has led to many professionals to seek residence in other countries.

Mohammad Reza Zafarghandi, the head of the Iranian Medical Council, had previously labeled the "depletion of the country of doctors" as a "serious" crisis, emphasizing the urgent need for action to address the situation and safeguard the future of Iran's healthcare sector.

Furthermore, Iraj Fazel, the former Minister of Health, has expressed concern about the declining interest among medical students in specialized fields like pediatric surgery and heart surgery. He noted the absence of volunteers in many critical areas, exacerbating concerns about the shortage of specialists in the vital medical disciplines.

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