Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences

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The barriers to achieve financial protection in Iranian health system: a qualitative study in a developing country

Seyran Naghdi, Tayebeh Moradi, Fateh Tavangar, Giti Bahrami, Mohammadi Shahboulaghi, Hesam Ghiasvand


Background: The move to universal health coverage and consequently health promotion is influenced by political, socio-economic and other contextual factors in a country. Iran, as a developing country with an upper-middle national income, has developed policies to achieve universal health coverage through financial protection. This study aims to investigate barriers to develop financial protection as a requirement to achieve universal health coverage.

Materials and Methods: This qualitative study was conducted using 20 in-depth interviews with experts in social welfare, health insurance and financing. The framework analysis method was used to analyze the data.

Results: The results have been categorized in three major themes that were extracted from ten sub-themes. The major themes included the political, social and economic context of the country, the context and structure of healthcare system and dimensions of UHC.

Conclusion: Achieving financial protection as a long-term objective should be considered as a priority among Iranian policy makers that requires an inter-sectoral collaboration with a defined in-charge body. Health policy makers in Iran should develop a more comprehensive benefits package for diseases and health conditions with catastrophic consequences. They also should develop a plan to cover the poor people.

Keywords: Universal Health Coverage, Financial Protection, Catastrophic Health Expenditures, Impoverishing Health Expenditures
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