Tehran's Health Patrol

Low-cost basic care delivered by women volunteers is a tonic for the economy


An Iranian healthcare worker tests water quality in a health center in the south west of Tehran.

In a small room in South Tehran's Shahre-Rey district, 12 women of all ages are gathered around a long table, listening intently and taking notes while their health trainer talks animatedly to them about the thyroid. The women will leave this class today and knock on as many as 50 doors to tell the families under their care about the necessity of using iodized salt to prevent developmental problems in children--an especially important lesson in these poorer parts, where seafood is rarely eaten.

These health workers are part of Women Health Volunteers (WHV), a network of 100,000 women who help the...

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