Country Listing

Iran Table of Contents


Health Hazards and Preventive Medicine

During the 1970s, apart from a high infant mortality rate, the chief causes of death were gastrointestinal, respiratory, and parasitic diseases. The incidence of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease was increasing. Several contagious diseases, such as grippe and influenza, conjunctivitis, scarlet fever, whooping cough, pulmonary tuberculosis, and typhoid fever were common. There is no evidence that the incidence of these diseases or the major causes of mortality have declined during the 1980s.

Drug addiction was a serious problem before the Revolution and reportedly has worsened since 1979. The Ministry of Health estimated in 1986 that there may have been as many as 1 million addicts in the country. Opium is the most commonly used drug. Since the end of the nineteenth century, opium has been smoked as a recreational drug at social gatherings. The Shia clergy have tried to discourage this practice by declaring the use of opium religiously prohibited. There is also some heroin use in the country.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Ministry of Health carried out vaccination campaigns in both urban and rural areas. Periodic campaigns have included immunizations against measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and poliomyelitis for infants and children, and general vaccinations against smallpox and cholera. These campaigns have prevented the outbreak of major epidemics.

Data as of December 1987