Drug users, sex workers and impoverished refugees from Afghanistan are among the vulnerable groups in Iran who face barriers when seeking medical care.
Despite improvements in the health system and greater recognition of addictions and stigmatised diseases such as HIV, healthcare gaps remain. A Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team continued to provide medical and psychological care, as well as voluntary counselling, social support and testing for HIV and hepatitis, to some of Iran’s most vulnerable residents in Darvazeh Ghar, southern Tehran. A team of community workers and peer educators also worked with MSF to reach those in need.
The health clinic, which opened in 2012, offers care to drug addicts and those excluded from regular medical services, primarily women, including sex workers, and children under 15.
Specific attention is given to the most-at-risk populations for sexually transmitted infections and infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis. Patients include drug users (including children) and their family members, sex workers and child labourers.
In 2015, MSF will develop a specific approach to the management of hepatitis C and HIV, will undertake activities to try and reduce the risks of infection and hopes to start working with male drug users.
No. staff in 2014: 31 | Expenditure: €0.7 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1990 | msf.org/iran