Governments all over the world are severely competing to gain more Covid-19 vaccines to rescue their people. Many officials believe that medical staff who provide invaluable services in combating the health crisis must be the first receivers of vaccines.
However, in Iran, the situation is completely different. Not only is there no news about vaccination, but the government has yet to provide essential equipment for medical staff.
In this respect, many healthcare workers have contracted the Covid-19, which dramatically has decreased the country’s medical staff on the one hand and exerted additional pressures on their colleagues on the other.
“Of the roughly 145,000 nurses across the country around 60,000 have contracted Covid-19 and 6,000 are in quarantine,” said Mohammad Mirzabeigi, head of Iran’s Nursing Apparatus Organization, on December 17.
Ten days earlier, Maryam Hazrati, deputy of nursing affairs in the Health Ministry, warned about overwhelming pressure on nurses. “Around 40,000 nurses across the country have contracted Covid-19 and are now in quarantine. With their loss pressure on the remaining nurses has increased significantly,” the semi-official ISNA news agency quoted her as saying on December 7.
Furthermore, authorities’ mismanagement has caused the death of a considerable number of these selfless people. On December 18, in an interview with the official IRNA news agency, Alireza Zali, the head of the Covid-19 Task Force, confirmed the death of 46 healthcare workers in Tehran and 200 in other provinces.
Health professionals also expressed their concerns over the mental and physical conditions of medical staff. “After nine months of bad working, mental, and physical conditions, more than 50 percent of nurses in the ICU section have contracted the coronavirus, 20 percent of which have been hospitalized in the ICU section themselves. This is a disaster,” said Alireza Sedaghat, head of the ICU department in Mashhad’s Imam Reza hospital, on November 12.
On the other hand, the ayatollahs’ terrible policies led many nurses and physicians to take refuge in other countries. “Negligence toward nurses’ demands diminishes their motivation… and in some cases, these indifferencies lead nurses to migrate from the country. In the long run, this issue would exacerbate the crisis of shortage of nurses in the country,” Abdollah Safari, deputy chief of the Nursing Organization, said in an interview with Mashreq News website on December 17.
Nurses’ emigration would sink the country to more dilemmas. Particularly, when the government faces a shortage of medical staff. “One of the main severe shortages we are facing is in the number of nurses. We do not even have one nurse for each hospital bed while the global standard is 2.5 nurses for each bed. Even in developing countries, this number is higher than two,” said the head of Iran’s Supreme Nursing Council Samsoddin Shamsi on December 14.
In this respect, the ayatollahs’ mismanagement not only pressures these selfless people but endangers the country’s future by reducing Iran’s valuable human resources. Moreover, while the government does not pay nurses’ arrears and delayed paychecks, it is unlikely to provide necessary items for medical apparatuses and improve the country’s health department. In this respect, like other sectors of society, medical staff grasped that protests are the sole way to achieve their inherent rights.