“The rate of nurses’ emigration has become increased in comparison to the past years, and 100 nurses monthly emigrate from Iran on average. Other countries strongly welcome Iranian nurses,” said Mohammad Mirza-Beigi, the director-general of Iran’s Nursing Organization, on Thursday, April 8.
Nurses’ emigration has dramatically grown while the country extremely needs the human resources in health and medical sectors due to the coronavirus outbreak. Iran is the worst-hit country in the Middle East regarding the illness. According to the Health Ministry, 63,884 people have lost their lives to the pandemic as of April 8.
Health professionals, and even members of the country’s Covid-19 combating headquarters, challenge official statistics, reckoning this number is not the whole story. According to Iranian dissidents’ reports, the actual number of fatalities is four times the Health Ministry’s figure.
“Over 246,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 535 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces,” stated the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
Why Nurses Emigrate from Iran?
Contrary to other countries, Iranian nurses face enormous dilemmas in various aspects. Despite their sincere work amidst the Covid-19 crisis, thousands of these selfless people have yet to receive their monthly salaries for months. This is while Iranian nurses endure additional hardship due to the country’s lack of adequate health and medical staff, which has made the dilemma more complicated in the past 14 months.
“It seems that [the government] is wasting time. Such behaviors towards nurses are not an inspiration in this status quo,” said Mirza-Beigi. “In addition to 140,000 nurses who care for hospitalized patients, we have 60,000 nursing students in the grade of expert to PhD in the medical sciences universities. Also, we have 30,000 nurses who provide services for home care units in a community-oriented manner.”
The number provided by the head of Nursing Organization is far lower than the global average. It means there are three nurses for each 1,000 citizens while the global average is at least four to eight nurses for every 1,000 people. “In comparison to other countries that have at least between four to eight nurses per each 1,000 people, we have only 0.9 nurses, meaning that we have less than one nurse per every 1,000 people,” Mirza-Beigi added.
The catastrophe, however, is not limited to nurses alone. Their family members also tolerate backbreaking dilemmas in financial and even psychological fields. Iran News Update reported last year that 111 medical staff have died of Covid-19 in Iran as of April 17, 2020. Officials’ refusal to provide necessary equipment is the main reason for the high death rate among Iranian nurses.
In a September 3, 2020 report, Amnesty International announced that over 7,000 health workers had lost their lives globally to the coronavirus. The organization ranked Iran with 164—official figure—as the 11th country in term of fatalities among medical staff.
Also, former Science Minister Mostafa Moeen had already spoken about the high mortality cases among Iranian health workers. “Why should the casualties among our dear medical staff, whether doctors, nurses, or pharmacists, be higher than the international average? Regrettably, over 180 physicians, nurses, and other irreplaceable forces of health and medicine have been martyred, and over 6,000 have contracted the disease,” Moeen said in an interview with Sharq daily on August 2, 2020.