Some countries have adopted the whole-of-government (WoG), whole-of-society (WoS) approach to face the recent global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. By applying the WoG approach, sectors beyond health have to work across boundaries to achieve an integrated government response to particular issues, such as global health emergencies. Furthermore, the WoS approach puts communities at the center of response, which is vital for effectively dealing with crises. The COVID-19 pandemic coincided with the toughest unilateral political and economic sanctions in Iran. Implementing preventive and restrictive strategies could be elusive without a tailored WoG-WoS approach. The National COVID-19 Committee (NCC) was established to foster necessary multi-sectoral collaboration to deal with the pandemic in Iran. Nonetheless, Iran faced seven waves of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, each one more devastating than the previous wave. As the NCC did not meaningfully engage with the representatives of civil society, it can be claimed that social participation in health promotion was sufficient in Iran. Applying WoG-WoS approaches could have facilitated better performance in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis; countries with better records in dealing with the recent pandemic have benefited from social mobilization and meaningful engagement with all sectors, including both state and non-state actors. We advocate the adoption of tailored initiatives to nurture such an approach in dealing with potential future crises in Iran and abroad.


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