EghtesadOnline: Iran has been registering growth in all health indicators that have come to surpass the global average over the past few years.
However, that’s not indicative of a desirable performance, because firstly the country is placed among upper middle-income countries, according to the World Bank, and therefore its health indicators must commensurate with the level of these countries. Secondly, the poor performance of low-income countries has pushed down the global average.
According to a recent report by the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, infant mortality rate and under-five mortality rate in Iran stand at 9 and 14 per 1,000 live births, both above the average of upper middle-income countries (7 and 13, respectively).
The number of reported pregnancy-related deaths stands at 16 per 100,000 live births in Iran, i.e., better than the average upper middle-income countries (57 per 100,000 live births).
The rates of low birthweight babies (who are born weighing under 2,500 grams), stunting in under five-year-old children, access to safe drinking water and access to basic sanitation services are indexes considered risk factors.
Except for access to safe drinking water, other indicators have been viewed as concerning in Iran. The percentage of low birthweight has been constantly on the rise (except for the Iranian year ending March 2019). The prevalence of stunting among infants under five years is 2.6%, which is higher than the average of upper middle-income countries (2.4%). Stunting in Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad and Sistan-Baluchestan provinces stands at 15.78% and 13.29% respectively, which is higher than the global average (12.6%).
The decline in Iranians per capita daily caloric intake, particularly in years ending March 2019 and March 2020 and the increase in child malnutrition will have deleterious effects on the intellectual development of children in the future.
Immunization (vaccination) coverage in children less than one year of age in Iran is way above the global average (99% in the year ending March 2021).