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Rural Road to Health

Apr 10, 2024

Dr Bita Barghchi is a primary care doctor from Iran.  In this episode she shares her experience of working in rural Iran and talks about some of the challenges faced by rural communities and healthcare workers.  

Episode summary:

00.45  Bita tells us about her professional background

01.45  How is the primary care system organized?

03.15  How do patients access secondary care and other health services?

05.40  What were the characteristics of the community Bita was working in?

07.50  How were emergency cases managed?

11.40  What are the main challenges facing rural communities in Iran?

13.45  How are healthcare workers managing the high workload and burnout?

19.00 What has the transition been like to Australia?  What are some of the differences between Iran and Australia? 


Key messages:

Health houses with qualified GP, nurse and midwife make up the core primary care team.

People do not like to be referred to secondary care as this often incurs a payment for the service.

People can choose to visit a specialist without getting a referral from primary care.  This can lead to visits to the wrong specialist.

Important to be patient when working in rural areas and develop a good relationship with the community.

More health education needed for school aged children. 

Poor coverage for women’s health. 

High levels of suicide among doctors in Iran, particularly among younger doctors.  

Pressures on the workforce are leading to health workforce migration.

One of the biggest differences between Iran and Australia is that all patients, including women, are able to make decisions about their health. 

Important to be patient and respectful towards rural communities, be adaptive, and develop good relationships. 


Recent article about doctor suicide in Iran:


Thank you for listening to the Rural Road to Health!