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WHO Mobile Clinics Deployed to Iran

  • Published in Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered three fully equipped mobile clinics to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME) of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 “These mobile clinics will provide health services and save lives in communities beyond health centres and health posts both in good times and during the crisis,” said Dr Christoph Hamelamann, the WHO Representative in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


The mobile clinics will provide outreach services to populations and communities where health facilities do not exist, are not functional or are inaccessible. They will also reach communities in areas that are hard-to-reach and subsequently, cater for a population with limited access to health services. As the clinics are deployed and move around within a specific area, vulnerable and often displaced communities will be able to receive access to life-saving health services.

The mobile clinics provide diagnosis, treatment, immunization, early diseases detection, control and response services, to ensure adequate follow up of patients with specific medical needs, referral of critical cases to advanced care, and detection of possible outbreaks of diseases. Each mobile clinic is accompanied by a medical team and pharmaceutical supplies to cover a range of essential health services for children, women and elderly.


The mobile clinics specifically deployed yesterday 9 October 2019 on their first mission in the country to Ilam province for the mass gatherings of Arbaeen will save lives by providing first aid, stabilizing patients and referring them to the nearest health facility as needed. Some mobile clinics can also assist with more complicated cases, such as deliveries.


WHO Assists Iran to Enhance Health System Resilience against Floods

  • Published in Health

World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME) of the Islamic Republic of Iran hold a two-day (1-2 October 2019) expert meeting in Tehran on Science-Policy-Practice Interface for Enhancing Health System Resilience against Floods in the country. The meeting has been organized in support of the Special Commission for National Report on Floods appointed by President Dr Hassan Rouhani.

The event brought together a diverse array of international experts and national stakeholders from science, policy and practice to better understand how to work both individually and collaboratively in improving health system resilience to floods. The results of this expert meeting will be incorporated into the report of the “Special Commission”.

In the aftermath of the floods, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran appointed a “Special Commission for National Report on Floods” consisting of independent experts and scholars. According to the President’s letter of appointment, “people have the right to receive scientific, credible and precise answers about the different aspects of these floods, the degree of the country’s readiness to deal with floods, and the practices concerning disaster management, damage estimation, damage compensation, and the necessary reforms for increasing national readiness for dealing with floods.” The Special Commission’s report is expected to serve as a key reference in resilience-building against floods in different sectors of the country, including the health sector.

Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean in a message to the meeting underscored that while the science of flood risk management continues to advance, countries often struggle to make policy on the basis of the existing science, and the challenges are even greater when it comes to putting policy into practice.
“The interface between science, policy and practice represents the space in which technical experts, policy-makers and practitioners can pool their diverse areas of expertise to develop a holistic understanding of an issue in order to create effective policy and plans” he added in the message that was read by Dr. Ali Ardalan, Regional Advisor and Manager of Health Systems in Emergencies Lab (HSEL) at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO).

Laleh Najafizadeh, the Health Emergency Progarmme Coordinator at the WHO Country Office Iran also in her presentation by highlighting the fact that building resilient health systems requires a holistic approach to health system development, said: the engagement of government at all levels, as well as civil society organizations, the private sector and local communities is crucial.
“WHO provides facilitates cooperation between health authorities and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen health system capacity and resilience for disaster risk management,” she added.
The initiative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to establish this Special Commission is a model for prioritizing science-policy dialogues at the highest level of a government. It also reveals the country’s commitment to the systematic use of science in policy-making for disaster risk reduction.

An example of this commitment is the development of a post-graduate programs on health disaster management at PhD level and establishment of corresponding academic departments by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME) in the affiliated universities.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, like many countries, faces emergencies and disasters that have severe public health impacts. By the end of 2018, natural disasters in Iran caused over 73,000 deaths, affecting 42 million people and caused 20 billion USD of economic damage. While the country has invested considerably in disaster risk reduction, the recent floods in March and April 2019 proved that the country is still extremely vulnerable to such hazardous events.

The floods and subsequent landslides have affected 43 out of 83 million people in 25 out of 31 provinces, leaving 2 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The floods have killed 86, injured 2,193, and displaced roughly 365,000 individuals. The destruction of infrastructure, both private and public property, was extensive and widespread – an estimated 65,000 houses were destroyed and over 114,000 were damaged. The floods also destroyed, either partially or completely, 927 health facilities, disrupting health service delivery at a time when it is needed most. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran estimates the total economic loss to be at 4.7 billion USD. Despite the extensive damage, the early warning systems throughout the country helped save the lives of thousands of citizens during the emergency.

Although focusing on the March-April 2019 floods in Iran, this initiative will serve as a pilot for similar expert discussions on different types of emergencies in the Eastern Mediterranean Region – and beyond. It is also aligned with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) that emphasizes: the enhancement of scientific and technical work on disaster risk reduction, the promotion and support of the availability and application of science and technology to decision-making, the support of the interface between policy and science for decision-making, and the support of action by local communities and authorities.


Iran Commemorates World Patient Safety Day 2019 to Highlight “Speak up for Patient Safety”

  • Published in Health

Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME) Islamic Republic of Iran in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) commemorated the first ever World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) in the country under the theme “Patient safety: a global health priority”.

The global campaign aims to create awareness of patient safety and WHO encourages everyone to speak up for the right of people to safe health care.

“For every one of us, whether service provider or patient, patient safety ranks the highest on our list. “Do no harm” is the first principle in medicine”, said Dr Christoph Hamelmann, the WHO Representative in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

WPSD that was celebrated globally on 17th of September is also a call on patients who suffer harm in health care to be actively involved in their care, well informed of their situation, provide full information about their medical history and ask questions while receiving health care.

Patient safety is a serious global public health concern. Estimates show that in high-income countries, as many as one in 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care. The harm can be caused by a range of adverse events, of which almost 50% are preventable.

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Without improving people’s access to quality health care services ‒ a fundamental principle of universal health coverage and key to achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 ‒ the occurrence of adverse events, resulting from unsafe care, is likely to become one of the top 10 leading causes of death and disability worldwide.

On this occasion, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari calls on community leaders and patient advocacy groups to encourage patients to speak out and insist on their right to receive safe, good quality health care services that meet their needs.

“Unsafe health care is a particular burden in low- and middle-income countries, especially those facing emergencies and extreme adversity. It is unacceptable that unsafe health care services in these countries still lead to 134 million adverse events annually, accounting for nearly 2.6 million deaths globally – especially now that achievement of UHC has been recognized as a critical global health goal,” the Regional Director said. “Crucially, unsafe care not only harms individual patients; it also wastes precious resources, undermines people’s trust in the health system and hinders country progress towards UHC.”

In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, evidence has shown that up to 18% of hospital admissions are associated with adverse events, 80% of which are preventable. Patients may be at risk of harm if the care they receive is not satisfactory, whether that is because it is delayed, inefficient, inequitable, of poor quality, not based on the latest evidence or represents a financial burden on the patient and their family.

The provision of safe services is extremely important across all levels of health care, including in primary and outpatient (ambulatory) care, where the bulk of services are offered. Globally, as many as four out of 10 patients are harmed while receiving health care in these settings, with up to 80% of this harm preventable. The most detrimental errors are related to diagnosis, prescription, the use of medicines and poor infection prevention and control practices. Harm in primary and ambulatory care often results in hospitalization.

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Examples of recommended interventions to ensure safer care include improving hygiene standards, in particular hand hygiene compliance, using preoperative checklists to reduce surgical complications, and implementing care bundles to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections.

Effective infection prevention and control reduces health care-associated infections by at least 30%.

Promoting a safety culture that uses mistakes as opportunities for learning rather than blaming individuals is also key for understanding the root causes of the problems and preventing their reoccurrence.

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On World Patient Safety Day, WHO strongly recommends that effective patient safety must be based on people-centred health care and reiterates that patient safety is not a one-day event or the sole responsibility of a single entity; rather, it requires sustained collaboration and coherent strategies that embrace everyone. “We all need to speak up for patient safety”.


WHO Iran Receives Special Award from Vice President on Emergency Response

  • Published in Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) in the Islamic Republic of Iran has received a special award from the National Emergency Management Organization on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of establishment of the Organization in Islamic Republic of Iran for its “outstanding efforts and valuable support” to the country in time of emergencies.

Dr Christoph Hamelmann, WHO Representative, received the award from Dr Ishaq Jahangiri, the Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who expressed his appreciation of the work of WHO as the leading United Nations agency for health with its special mandate of emergency response.

Dr Saeed Namaki, the Minister of Health and Medical Education, also said that in the near future the country would be equipped with new ambulances and air ambulance equipment.

Dr Pirhossein Kolivand, Head of the National Emergency Management Organization added, “This year, marks the 44th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization. Throughout the years, the number of emergency medical services bases have been increased from only 70 to more than 3300”.

In April 2019, WHO airlifted essential medical supplies to the Islamic Republic of Iran to respond to the growing health needs of thousands of people who had been displaced as a result of heavy flooding in many provinces in the country. The supplies included trauma, health, cholera and noncommunicable disease kits and other commodities requested by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

WHO, in close collaboration with other United Nations agencies, continues to support emergency preparedness measures in the country, including a hospital emergency preparedness workshop this month.


29 August 2019 - Guterres calls on all States to sign, ratify CTBT

  • Published in Other

TEHRAN, 29 August 2019 (UNIC) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message on the International Day against Nuclear Tests, 29 August 2019, called on all States that have not yet ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) to sign and ratify it. 

The full text of his message reads: 

The International Day against Nuclear Tests marks the closing, in 1991, of the nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, the largest in the former Soviet Union. More than 450 tests took place there, with impacts still being felt decades later. 

But this observance also has a broader message. It commemorates all victims of nuclear tests, anywhere they have been conducted. Affected communities have yet to fully recover from the environmental, health and economic damage. 

Honoring those victims requires bringing nuclear testing to a permanent end. Yet, an effective and legally-binding prohibition remains one of the longest unfulfilled goals of nuclear disarmament. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a central pillar of international efforts, but despite being widely supported – with 184 signatories and 168 ratifying States – it has not yet entered into force, more than 20 years after its adoption. 

The legacy of nuclear testing is nothing but destruction. The CTBT is vital to ensuring there are no more victims; it is also essential to advancing nuclear disarmament. 

On the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, I reiterate my call for all States that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the Treaty, especially those whose ratification is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force. In a world of rising tensions and divisions, our collective security depends on it.   


27 August 2019 - WHO urges governments to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship at international expos

  • Published in Other

TEHRAN, 26 August 2019 (UNIC) -- As called for in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Governments must comprehensively enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (Article 13) at international expos and conferences, in order to ensure their events and programmes are tobacco free and that their activities and participants are not sponsored by tobacco companies. The world must unite to halt the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing of its products, that cause addiction, suffering and millions of deaths each year.

This renewed call comes in light of reports of tobacco companies aiming to establish new partnerships with governments to sponsor events or pavilions in world expos, in a country that has already ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Philip Morris International (PMI) recently announced a partnership with the Government of Switzerland to sponsor the Swiss pavilion in the Dubai World Expo 2020. The Government of Switzerland has reconsidered this partnership, and chosen not to accept the financial support of PMI. WHO welcomes the decision made by the Government of Switzerland and takes this opportunity to encourage the Government to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), as Switzerland is among a handful of countries that are yet to do so. 

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control includes in Article 5.3 a commitment to protect public health policies with respect to tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. This commitment is reflected in the Memorandum of Understanding of 2011 between WHO and the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which “bans” sponsorship of expos by tobacco companies or their agents or affiliates. Featuring a world-leading producer of tobacco products and cigarettes — the only product that is known to kill half of its consumers, goes against the theme of Dubai’s Expo 2020 “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. Governments must proactively aspire to reduce the number of people starting and continuing smoking, to promote health and preserve future generations.

In accordance with Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, WHO also urges all organizers of international expos and conferences to adopt complete tobacco-free policies providing for protection from exposure from tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places and, as appropriate, other public places. Any designated smoking area must be outdoor and designed to discourage smoking and to protect people from tobacco smoke exposures. In addition, governments should:

Ban sales of tobacco or tobacco-related products at expos; Ban sponsorship of expos by tobacco companies or their agents or affiliates; and Ban advertising and promotion of tobacco products, tobacco company brands, and the use of tobacco at expos.

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