Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Learning from Iran

Sometimes the benefits of comparative studies appear in unexpected places. Borrowing ideas from Iran to deal with problems in the USA? Sounds unlikely, but…

The Iranian system reminds me of the barefoot doctor program during the Cultural Revolution in China.

Curing Mississippi's blues with Iranian care?
An American doctor from Mississippi searched far and wide for solutions to his state’s endemic health problems.

Now, after years of practicing what he calls “health diplomacy,” Dr. James Miller, director of Oxford International Development Group in Mississippi, thinks he may have found some solutions in what may seem like an unlikely place: Iran…

Miller began looking around the globe for successful systems of health care delivery that might be adaptable to Mississippi.

Iran’s system stuck out – particularly since it faces similar challenges like a lack of money and medical personnel, as well as vast rural distances and limited public transportation…

Iran has developed an integrated health system. The foundation of the system is a network of community health houses staffed by locals who create a cultural competency and affinity with the people they are serving…

Behvarze class for new mothers
In Iran’s health care system, remote village health houses are the first line of defense, staffed by villagers known as behvarzes.

The behvarzes are trained to provide basic health services for villages of up to 1,500 people who live within an hour's walking distance. Male behvarzes take care of sanitation, water testing and environmental projects. The women concentrate on child and maternal health, family planning, vaccinations and tracking each family’s births, deaths and medical histories. There are currently about 17,000 health houses across the country serving 23 million rural Iranians…


See also a New York Times article: What Can Mississippi Learn From Iran?

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