By Jubin Katiraie
In a letter to Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki, a group of Iranian doctors called for ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 disease, they affirmed that there is no solution for health and treatment except with acknowledging the true extent of the pandemic and involving the people.
Signatories of the letter called for transparency and accountability from the Ministry and the counter coronavirus task force. They highlighted that the information about the number of infected people, their access to a level of medical service, testing methods, paths of collecting details and info, death toll, and other obstacles with which the Ministry has dealt them be announced to the society with transparency.
“We realize that insisting on the right, accurate opinion requires a lot of courage and frankness, even if it means losing a position or job. However, we demand that you remain committed to your medical oath and relentless effort for the implementation of expert opinions,” the physician wrote in their letter.
They also requested the Health Minister to improve the conditions of hospital and medical centers as the frontlines of the struggle against the COVID-19 illness. Additionally, the physicians called on Namaki to announce real coronavirus figures far from political interests.
In this respect, the Iranian government's non-transparency is criticized by many individuals, including officials. For instance, on April 13, a member of the Tehran City Council Mohammad Haghshenas admitted that the Iranian regime does not announce "real figures."
"I think that Tehran’s municipality and Tehran’s counter-coronavirus task force should announce a separate report about the city. Because, if the government does not care and pursues to normalize the situation, at least [Tehran] citizens should protect themselves," Haghshenas said in the council’s session.
Also, the government’s mismanagement and hoarding of the necessary hygienic equipment puts citizens’ health at risk. Furthermore, Iranian officials are unable to provide essential protected items for healthcare staff, which has resulted in a soaring death toll among these selfless people.
“For each 24-hour shift, the hospital gives a quota to us, including an N-95 face mask and two ordinary ones, a couple of gloves, and shoe covering. N-95 face masks should be changed every 12 hours, but we always suffer from a lack of equipment. Unfortunately, we are under stress in every shift,” a healthcare worker from Tehran’s Loghman hospital said.
Notably, Loghman hospital is one of the most advanced Iranian hospitals that has 420 active beds. On the other hand, contrary to the claims by president Hassan Rouhani about free services, citizens have to pay huge costs for hospitalizing and treating their loved ones who contract the coronavirus.
Previously, on April 3, Dr. Mohammad Reza Hashemian as a doctor in Masih Daneshvari hospital in Tehran criticized officials' discrimination about offering medical equipment and medications to patients.