Iran’s Struggling Health System in the Policy of Managing the COVID‑19 Pandemic

Hamid Pourasghari, Aziz Rezapour, Ali Tahernezhad, Elaheh Mazaheri, Rouhollah Moghadas Nikoo, Alireza Jabbari, Marziye Hadian


Background: Infectious diseases are one of the most important problems that affect the whole world. The World Health Organization (WHO), an active health organization, has identified coronavirus disease 19 (COVID‑19) as a public health emergency and advises governments not to waste time on effective measures and interventions to attack and suppress the virus. In Iran, so far, the total number of screening tests has exceeded 21 million tests and more than 5 million doses of vaccine have been injected. However, we are still far from controlling the epidemic wave. Given the current situation, it is necessary to identify the challenges of managing the new coronavirus epidemic (COVID‑19) in the country’s medical universities.

Methods: This qualitative study was conducted from January 2020 to January 2021 to explore the views of a group of service providers and staff managers of medical universities who were selected via purposeful sampling (n = 47). Data were collected through semi‑structured interviews and analyzed using Graneheim and Lundman’s conventional content analysis methods. The trial version of MAXQDA 16 software was used to manage the coding process.

Results: Upon analysis of data by service providers and staff managers of medical universities, five main themes including governance and leadership, service delivery, human resources, medicine and technology, and financing and 15 sub‑themes including management and leadership, culture and society, process, infrastructure, manpower, training and skills, mental pressure, work pressure, nutrition, safety, employee motivation, medical equipment, medicine, payment, and funds were found.

Conclusions: Identification of the most important challenges of service providers and staff managers can play an important role in improving the management of the new coronavirus epidemic (COVID‑19). It seems that in order to solve some of these challenges, coordination is needed outside the field of health, and considering the formation of the National Corona Headquarters at the national level, it is possible to use this infrastructure to provide the necessary policies and strategies.


Health system; Iran; management; policy; service provider; staff manager

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