September 30, 2023

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Tehran, Tokyo underscore cooperation in healthcare

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Japanese Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato underlined the need to expand cooperation in the health sector.

In a meeting in Tokyo on Monday, the Iranian minister emphasized the need for boosting cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially the participation of Japanese companies in the Iranian medicine and medical equipment market, IRNA reported. 

He referred to the donation of vaccines by the Japanese government to Iran during the outbreak of coronavirus as a valuable measure.

Amir-Abdollahian also described the progress of Iran in modern technologies, especially in the field of medicine.

The Japanese minister, for his part, stressed the importance of cooperation between countries, especially in the field of medicine, and expressed his satisfaction with the progress of Iran in the field of medical technologies.

In October 2021, the Government of Japan signed a financial donation agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the consolidation of national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 emergency across Iran.

The agreement was signed between Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO Representative and Head of Mission to Iran, and Hirotaka Matsuo, Charge d’Affaires ad interim in Japan to the Islamic Republic, during a ceremony in Tehran.

The grant aid project worth $6.3 million aimed to provide a total of six MRI machines to Iran to strengthen its capacity to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the country. These MRI machines were projected to be delivered to public hospitals in five provinces of Tehran, Khuzestan, South Khorasan, North Khorasan, and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari, by WHO Country Office.

“The 6.3-million-dollar grant will greatly facilitate the effective response of the government of Iran to COVID-19, particularly in the diagnostic and therapeutic aspect. The MRI machines will not only serve the COVID-19 response but at the same time for a medium-to-long-term to many other illnesses and diseases, which currently are of very important nature,” Hussain said.

In June this year, WHO delivered the first 3 MRI machines as a part of a project funded by the Government of Japan aimed at strengthening the diagnostic capacity of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s health system.

The state-of-the-art 1.5-Tesla MRI scanners were projected to be installed in hospitals identified by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, according to the WHO website.

A total of 6 MRI machines were delivered through the implementation of this project. The first 3 machines arrived at target hospitals, namely, Kosar Hospital in Semnan, Hajar Hospital in Shahrekord, and Pasteur Hospital in Bam.

Two other machines, destined for 12 Farvardin Hospital in Kahnooj and Imam Ali Hospital of Andimeshk.

In May, the WHO representative thanked Iran for holding the 26th G5 High-Level Experts Meeting on Health Cooperation and the 1st Healthcare Leadership and Governance Training Program, IRNA reported.

G5 countries (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, plus the World Health Organization) took part in the meetings from May 6-10 with the theme of “Joint Work for Solving Joint Health Problems.”

Addressing the opening ceremony, Health Minister Bahram Einollahi referred to the unity and cooperation of the countries in the fields of health, treatment, and medical education as a historical necessity.

Achieving, maintaining, and promoting health is never possible in a regional way and does not happen in an isolated region, but requires the cooperation of countries, especially neighboring countries, he stressed.

“To develop health in the countries of the group of five, we must look at health collectively and think about creating and promoting health in all countries.

The health sector of Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan is tied to each other. Today, with the relations and cooperation that exist in different sectors between the countries and neighbors, a disease is capable of penetrating all countries.”

“Therefore, our unity and cooperation is a historical necessity so that the health indicators in the region can be improved and brought to the ideal point,” the minister reiterated.

He went on to say that conditions should be provided so that professors, students, and scientists can easily communicate with each other and travel to each other’s countries without hindrance and hold joint scientific conferences.

“Many incidents have happened in the region, such as this year’s huge earthquake in Turkey and last year’s flood in Pakistan, which unfortunately left many damages and deaths. These bitter incidents show the need for joint cooperation to help each other.”

Health is the common link of the countries of the region and it can cause the unity and development of the cooperation of the G5 countries and also a prelude to the development of the health economy, he added.

“Iran has achieved many successes in the field of knowledge-based companies and is able to provide 99 percent of its pharmaceutical needs and 40 percent of its advanced medical equipment needs.

So, the country can provide the G5 with its experiences.”

Einollahi pointed out that the group of five has an exceptional position due to being located in a strategic area, and the formation of this group can be a model for other countries.

One of the major problems of the G5 countries today is management in the field of health, which requires the creation of an up-to-date mechanism because management is the most important element in promoting health in the countries of the group of five.

“Unfortunately, in a situation where the death rate of infectious diseases has reached zero in developed countries, we are witnessing the high prevalence and death rate of these diseases in some countries of the region, which imposes a great cost on the countries of the group of five.”

“In order to prevent the spread and control of communicable diseases, we should have joint and strong cooperation, and Iran is sincerely ready to cooperate with the countries of the region in this field,” he concluded.

Iran initiated the establishment of the G5 in 2005 to promote subregional cooperation in health among the group of four countries – Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan – plus the World Health Organization as the fifth member of this group to provide technical support in improving this collaboration.


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