Who are we?
In today’s ever ever changing world new standards, problems and issues in all aspects of daily life are faced every day. Healthcare systems and populations’ well-being aren’t exceptions of this general rule; with ever growing population size and life style changes, diseases also tend to change. which means that yesterday’s systems can’t satisfy today’s demands and problems.
One of the issues that’s been a hot topic recently (compared to other challenges faced by healthcare system) is the issue of equity in healthcare. The World Health Organization, in the last years of the 20th century declared a new plan: “health for all by 2000.” This plan called upon countries and governments to improve the over all well-being of their people; redefined the meaning of health, principals of healthcare and the standards of living. Even though the plan never completely succeeded in achieving its set goals to the desired extent, but it put into motion the needed processes to move forward and improve the old systems; and till this day the progress continues.
Another plan was developed in 2015 by the United Nations, in hopes of raising the quality of life for all was called: “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” This plan consists of 17 interlinked goals –designed as a blue print for
achieving a better future for all by the year 2030– some of which are: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, reduced inequalities and more. This plan is still in motion and countries are changing their strategies
and plans in order to achieve these goals. One of these is the “Universal Health Coverage (UHC)”. According to this goal, countries aspire to make fundamental changes in their healthcare policies in order to make healthcare more
affordable for all and to make sure no one would be driven into poverty or denied care and withhold from demanding care due to the cost of the services.
Some of the issues discussed in these plans are the topic of equity in healthcare systems, access to healthcare, and delivery of the needed care. These are fundamental and multi factorial issues faced by almost all countries to some extend. This existing inequity in the different layers of healthcare systems causes great discomfort for a considerable number of the communities and sometimes has irreversible out comes for both the governments and the people.
To address this issue means to first recognize it, comprehend it and grasp the main factors that are causing such inequities through out the different regions, communities, systems, different classes of population (such as men and
women, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, young and old, etc.) and on the big scale the whole of the country. It’s only after completely understanding an issue that you can start planing for a solution.
In this case, like any other given challenges, the first steps of understanding a problem is by investigation and research. It’s for this purpose that the government of Iran and the Ministry of Health and Education have created a special center for the field of equity research under the supervision of Tehran university of medical sciences.
That’s us! and that’s what we are here to do; to do focused research on the subject of health inequity in Iran’s healthcare system,identify the main factors and determinants that cause such issues, find the key sectors, communities and regions struggling with this issue, and in the end analyze the collected data, extract the key information, connect the involved sectors to build a network of researchers, authorities, policy makers and service providers to help find and implement a practical solution for this issue and aspire for a better, more just future.
As a research center and as a member of the vast healthcare system of Iran (even though a small member), we aspire to make a change, to improve the system. We wish to be a dynamic center, to lead and innovate in promoting health in our community by improving health equity and it’s indicators both nationally and internationally. By implementating fundamental and applied projects, by becoming a member of international projects and associations, and by collaborating with World Health Organization we try to raise the issue of health promotion and equity in all governmental and non-governmental activities and make it a priority. And ultimately we want to raise to the rank of “Institute of Health Equity” of Iran’s healthcare system.
Massage From The Director
Equitable distribution, access and utilization of healthcare services are very important for healthcare systems. In Islamic Republic of Iran, inequity issues related to the health status of people and communities have been among the main concerns for health policy makers. However, measuring health inequities has always been challenging over time and across countries. Considering the emphasis of national laws and the upstream documents on equity in providing health for all community members, the Health Equity Research Center has been established accordingly to assess the inequities in health.
Dr. Alireza Olyaeemanesh