Iran, which unlike most western countries has a surplus of doctors, has started exporting them to neighboring Gulf countries to ease its increasing unemployment problem, press reports said Sunday. According to the government-run Iran paper, between 150 and 200 specialized physicians have already been sent to Persian Gulf states in line with a project to "export human resources."
It said others were still waiting for the government's green light to be dispatched to countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. "The physicians are sent for a period of six to 24 months," the paper said citing a government official, adding that most of the job offers came from the Gulf countries and Japan.
Iran has been experiencing a surplus in physicians, particularly since the end of its 1980-1988 war with neighboring Iraq. Physicians have a very high standing in Iranian society and parents often encourage children to go to medical school as a sure way to ensure a prosperous future.
In recent months, the Iranian press has also talked of "exporting human resources" in line with the government's plan to raise non-oil exports. It could be a solution to the high unemployment rate, a further source of foreign currency, and a way to ensure higher living standards, the Tehran press has been reporting.
According to official figures, Iran has some 40,000 medical specialists as well as over 100,000 trained in the medical profession, the majority of whom are in Tehran and other major cities. The health ministry frequently criticizes Iran's medical work force for refusing to work in Iran's provinces and smaller cities and villages.
With 70 percent of Iran's population under the age of 30, the country is faced with a host of young people each year looking to find work on the increasingly weak market. The official unemployment rate is 15 percent though unofficial estimates put the figure higher. Analysts say Iran must create an average of 800,000 jobs annually for the next 10 years to tackle the unemployment problem. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)