The head of the Infant Health Department at the Ministry of Health said that more than 10,000 of Iran’s infants died per year due to growing poverty.
“For every 1,000 births, 8.27 newborns die due to economic poverty in the country, and since around 1.4 million babies are born every year, more than 10,000 infants die per year,” Mohammad Heidari said in comments carried by the IRNA state-run news agency.
The health official said that the southeast province of Sistan and Baluchestan, southern province of Hormozgan, western province of Kermanshah and the southeast province of Kerman accounted for the most infant deaths in Iran.
“In these provinces, due to the low level of health literacy, economic poverty and lack of prenatal care, newborns die at birth,” he added.
The current economic crisis in Iran which is mainly the result of almost 40 years of government mismanagement and corruption, has left around 80% of Iran’s population in poverty.
According to a report published by Iran’s Parliamentary Research Center on December 9, Sistan and Baluchestan had the most impoverished families in 2016 with 42.2% of urban families and 34.4% of rural families living under the line of poverty.
The report said that 38.3% of the province’s population which is the second largest province in Iran, lived under the line of poverty. In the provinces of Kerman, Golestan, Qom and Hormozgan, up to 30% of the population lived under the line of poverty.
Official statistics on the extent of poverty in Iran vary. The official number is usually given as 35% but on March 11, Shahab Naderi, the Parliament Representative from a town in Kurdistan Province said that 80% lived under the line of poverty in Iran.
In August, citing official numbers, Mohsen Hashemi, the Head of the Tehran City Council said that one third of Iranians lived under the line of poverty while one tenth lived under the “line of absolute poverty”.
The recent parliamentary report said that the line of poverty had increased by 25% compared to last year.
There have been reports of the buying and selling of infants in Iran due to growing poverty and addiction. These reports were confirmed by Iranian officials.