2 Ministries Join Forces to Improve Healthcare

The MoUs also call for promoting a culture of self-care and safety through the nationwide health network
The mutual cooperation aims at a creating a safe and healthy community.The mutual cooperation aims at a creating a safe and healthy community.

Establishment of health houses under the ‘Health Reform Plan’ launched in 2013 will be extended to urban suburbs and unofficial settlements.

Under a joint memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, the number of health houses in urban areas will expand to cover more people living in the outlying areas of cities.

The MoU signed on Sunday in Tehran by Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi and Roads Minister Abbas Akhoundi also includes other provisions such as control and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), IRNA reported.

A second MoU was signed between Deputy Minister of Roads Davood Keshavarzian, and Deputy Health Minister Ali Akbar Sayyari, that aims to develop intersectoral cooperation.

“Such cooperation is of great importance, because the implementation of health indicators involves several government entities” for the overall health of the people, said Deputy Health Minister for Social Affairs, Mohammad Hadi Ayyazi, at the function.

“Several health services are offered in makeshift or temporary arrangements, and we need to establish permanent buildings for the health centers so as make them convenient to access for the 11 million living in city outskirts.”

He recalled the MoU signed between the ministries of health and education a couple of years ago which prohibited distribution of harmful products such as processed meat, snacks, and fizzy drinks in schools.

“That agreement was enforced in over 90% of schools through regular inspections by the Health Ministry,” Ayyazi noted.

Cooperation in areas such as improving health indicators with the aim of creating a safe community, adding a health-related protocol (health impact assessment) for major urban and developmental projects, and beefing up traffic safety on high-risk roadways, were among the provisions of the MoUs.

“The Ministry of Roads plays a key role in prevention and control of traffic accidents, the burden of which is carried by the Health Ministry,” the official pointed out.

The general health policies as directed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, highlight the necessity for a comprehensive approach to health in all laws and policies. “This requires the cooperation of all bodies at all levels,” he stressed.

According to Ayyazi, road accidents are the leading cause of preventable deaths among children and are more prevalent in rural areas.

  Promoting Culture of Self-Care

Under the MoUs, the two government bodies also have plans to promote safety and health in various means of road, rail, sea and air transport, and construct health centers and emergency stations for marginalized populations (in urban suburbs) on priority.

The MoUs also call for promoting a culture of self-care and safety through the nationwide health network, particularly in rural areas, by providing appropriate safety facilities for road travel. Enhancing occupational health programs for drivers of public and heavy vehicles; stepping up housing and urban development policies with emphasis on safety, and heeding the needs of vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities are included in the MoUs.

Ayyazi also took stock of the National Document in Prevention and Control of NCDs and said the ministry is preparing the grounds for its implementation by joining forces with other ministries and organizations.

The document was unveiled on July 22, 2015 in the presence of WHO Director-General Margaret Chan during her visit to Tehran. It was introduced at the 62nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean in Kuwait in October of that year.

The national plan will take off from the second half of the current Iranian year that started in March, and is expected to implement the “90,90,90” targets which aims to screen 90% of Iranians for NCDs including cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and stroke), cancers and chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.