Kabul: At least 120,000 Afghan refugees in Iran have their health insurance costs covered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Access medical care for Covid-19 and other illnesses under Iran’s national health plan has been extended to 20,000 more refugees bringing the total to 120,000, a statement released on Saturday stated. Iran hosts nearly 800,000 Afghan refugees.
UNHCR has over the past year paid insurance premiums for 100,000 of the most vulnerable refugees. “Iran is one of only a handful of countries that allows refugees to sign up for its national health insurance and receive the same treatment as its nationals,” said UNHCR Spokesperson Babar Balloch.
“The national insurance scheme allows for free Covid-19 treatment and hospitalization. It also subsidizes the cost of surgeries, dialysis, radiology, laboratory tests, outpatient care and more. However, many refugees are not able to afford the premium costs,” he added.
Balloch said the pandemic has severely affected the ability of refugees to earn a living, as they usually rely on precarious and unstable jobs.