After the floods in Iran, providing health care to the vulnerable populations in Lorestan
MSF provides free healthcare to excluded and marginalised people in south Tehran, including drug users, sex workers, street children, the Ghorbat ethnic minority and Afghan refugees in eastern Iran.

In Darvazeh Ghar district, we run a clinic offering a comprehensive package of medical services designed for high-risk patients who suffer from stigma and/or need help to follow their treatment.

Services include counselling and support from peer workers, psychosocial aid, medical and mental health consultations, ante- and postnatal care, family planning and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Patients can also be tested for communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C

We also operate a referral system, and run mobile clinics in partnership with a local organisation called Society for Recovery Support.  

In Mashhad, in the eastern part of the country, we provide primary healthcare and mental health services to Afghan refugees who fled the decades-long conflict in their homeland and are largely excluded from access to medical care. 

Our activities in 2020 in Iran

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020

MSF in Iran in 2020 Since 2012, MSF has been providing medical services to vulnerable groups in Iran, including drug users, Afghan refugees and homeless people, who are often excluded from healthcare.
Iran Activities 2020

Iran officially hosts 950,000 Afghan and 28,000 Iraqi refugees. In addition to the refugees, there are around 2.5 million Afghans residing in Iran, inclusive of passport holders and undocumented Afghans.* For them and other marginalised groups, such as homeless people, the Ghorbati ethnic community, and drug users (whose official number is estimated at 2.8 million – 3.5 per cent of the population), obtaining medical assistance is a struggle, despite the government’s pledge to implement universal health coverage. 

In 2020, MSF continued to offer comprehensive care to these vulnerable groups at high risk of infectious diseases in South Tehran, via a health facility and a mobile clinic. Services include medical consultations, testing for communicable diseases (HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis B), treatment for sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, specialist referrals, ante- and postnatal care, and family planning. We also offer testing and treatment for hepatitis C, the most common infection among drug users in Iran, and mental health support.   

In Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, our mobile clinics deliver similar services for refugees, host communities and residents of a women’s shelter. We also work in a fixed clinic in Golshahr district, where 80 per cent of Afghans in Mashhad live. In 2020, we extended these activities to 11 camps for drug users in remission.

Iran was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. During the initial peak, we started preparations to set up a 50-bed field treatment unit in Isfahan to support a local hospital. Shortly after the arrival of the equipment and the team, approval for the set up of the unit was revoked. As it was not possible to set it up elsewhere in the country, the equipment was exported to our project in Herat, Afghanistan. 


*UN refugee agency, UNHCR 


In 2020
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