The Iranian government is resorting to violent tactics to block healthcare access, making it increasingly challenging for healthcare workers to treat patients. These tactics include suppressing the voices of Iranian healthcare providers, forcing secretive patient treatment in the face of conflict, and using violent means to quell demonstrations. These actions have led to a growing crisis in the country, with many people unable to access proper medical care, and healthcare workers placed in danger.
The international community has condemned the Iranian government’s attacks on healthcare facilities and personnel as war crimes that violate international law. Academics, clinicians, and policymakers globally should declare solidarity with the Iranian people and the healthcare workers aiding them.
The ongoing protests in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini have made the situation even more challenging. As the protests have grown in frequency, intensity, and violence, the Iranian police have begun co-opting ambulances for arrests and transporting paramilitary forces. They have also stationed themselves at hospitals and clinics to arrest patients who have wounds consistent with the tactics used to quell demonstrations. This has made it difficult for many injured protesters to seek proper medical care.
As a result, many wounded protesters are turning to veterinarians or social media to seek advice on at-home care. Doctors have been forced to lie about their patients’ injuries and treatments or have secretly provided care at their homes, and have been arrested if discovered. This has led to a shortage of medical supplies such as medications, antibiotics, and tetanus boosters at facilities and pharmacies alike, and individuals are forced to turn to home remedies and removing pellets with home-sterilized tweezers.
The political pressures on healthcare providers began immediately after the death of Mahsa Amini. Dr. Hossein Karampour, the medical officer overseeing the proceedings, refused to confirm police claims that she had died of a heart attack. This led to a rebuke by the government-appointed head of the council, who swiftly denounced the claim as aligned with the “troublemaker and separatist” protesters. A peaceful physician protest, held in front of the medical council of Iran, was met with arrests, beatings, tear gas, and gunshots.
In recent weeks, doctors and researchers have continued to be arrested for treating protesters or giving speeches at protests. Healthcare personnel have been placed in a dangerous position, and there is intense fear among them. These violent incidents have led to a growing crisis in the country, with hundreds beaten and seriously wounded.
Iranian doctors are taking part in protests for the first time, which shows how widespread they are. This is a significant development, and it is important that academics around the world support the Iranian people. Healthcare is a human right, and that right is under fire in Iran. It is essential to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people and the healthcare workers who are aiding them.
The Iranian government’s violent tactics are causing a crisis in the country’s healthcare system. Healthcare workers are under tremendous pressure and are forced to operate under difficult circumstances. The international community must condemn these actions and provide support to the Iranian people and healthcare workers. Healthcare is a human right, and we must ensure that everyone has access to proper medical care, regardless of their circumstances.