Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, November 13, 2020—While the coronavirus pandemic has hit many countries hard, governments are paying close attention to their public healthcare system, and more specifically their nurses and medical staffs. It is obvious that our medical professionals are bearing the main of burden and pressure of this unfortunate situation. Conditions like these demand special attentions to provide proper health conditions for nurses so that they can take care of patients with high morale.
However, in Iran under the mullahs’ rule the situation is diametrically opposed to that. Not only medical staffs and nurses receive no care at all, but also for several months, many nurses have not received their mere salaries of just above $100 a month, according to the regime’s own Health Ministry officials. This salary is already four to five times under Iran’s poverty line.
State media acknowledges that more than 90 percent of Iran’s nurses are unhappy with their working conditions and salaries. The harsh situation has resulted in a new wave of nurses migrating from Iran. Poverty, harsh working conditions and lack of working rights and safety are all elements forcing Iran’s nurses to leave the country.
“Unfortunately, in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic some private hospitals lower the number of their nurses that resulted in these incidents,” said Armin Zare’ian, director of regime’s Council of Nurses in Tehran on October 31. “Now, we are seeing these nurses migrate to other countries. There is no specific tally on nurse immigration, but nurses are requesting to migrate have increased many times over,” he added according to the Fars news agency, according to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
“The Foreign Ministry is obligated to declare the exact number of migrating nurses. Unfortunately, nowadays we are seeing 250 daily nurses file petitions for migration to foreign countries. Several factors lead to these requests, from exhaustion and fatigue due to eight months of continuous, around the clock work since early days of the coronavirus pandemic, to not receiving salaries and temporary employments which prevent nurses from enjoying insurance and many other benefits,” he added.
The dire working conditions is one of the problems imposing the most pressure on nurses. “The country’s health apparatus is facing a shortage of nearly 125,000 nurses,” said the head of regime’s Medical Council back in May 2020 during the early days of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran.
The standard global average is 2.56 nurses per bed in a hospital. This number rises in Australia, the U.S. and Canada to seven while decreasing to 0.7 to 0.9 in Iran. However, this number relates to the pre-coronavirus period and a rise in the number of Covid-19 patients has resulted this rate lowering even further than before.
This terrible situation creates a far more tense working environment and results in increasing human error. In turn this endangers nurses themselves and patients even further.
“At least 30,000 nurses have contracted covid-19,” said secretary of the regime’s House of Nurses Organization on October 14, according to the state-run Arman daily.
The regime’s Health Ministry claims they are installing 10,000 hospital beds per year, according to a report wired on March 23 by the regime’s official IRNA news agency.
Whether this is true or not, this number does not suggest a definite criteria regarding proper health services due to the fact that more important than the number of hospital beds is the adequate number of nurses for a hospital to stand at 2.5 nurses per bed. Unfortunately, the regime does not care about this dire issue at all.
“In 2019, there was a near zero number of nurses employed. In 2020, 10,000 employments have been authorized, out of which only 4,000 nurses were employed,” secretary of the regime’s House of Nurses Organization added.
“Health Minister Saied Namaki announced that 9,000 nurses were employed up to the end of 2019. Furthermore, a professional status independent of other medical staff will be defined for nurses up to the year. A new payment regulation will also be provided for the nurses. However, these are the least of the promises are being fulfilled, partly due to the lack of cooperation between the government, the country’s employment system and the Health Ministry,” the official added.
“However in May, following four months of the government’s pledge to employ 9,000 nurses, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, head of the Budget and Planning Organization announced that only 3,000 nurses would be employed in the coming two months. In July only 2,200 nurses were employed,” the report added.
This is while, 3,000 to 4,000 nurses leave their jobs each year due to retirement and other issues.
Iran’s nurses are not paid in spite of the coronavirus pandemic and harsh working conditions. “For the past three to four months, our medical professionals have not received neither their monthly wages, overtime payments nor pensions. Their salaries are less than Health Ministry’s specified minimum payment,” said Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi on September 24 in an interview with state TV.
A simple comparison of nurses’ payments in Iran with the level of payments in the U.S. clarifies the cruel and oppressed condition Iran’s nurses are enduring under the mullahs’ rule.
In the U.S., nurses receive $4,000 a month for seven-hour working days. In Iran, each nurse receives $120 a month for 10-12-hour working days. This may even rise to 20 working hours a day. As a result, an American nurse is paid nearly 34 times an Iranian nurse.
Many nurses are fored into 89-day non-binding contracts, at the end of which they are laid off. Employees that work for an institution over 90 days are entitled to minimum legal and insurance rights, which these nurses are deprive of. For instance, in Gilan province, 536 nurses were fired at the end of their 89-days contracts. This is while hospitals are in serious shortage of nurses and the government refrains from taking measures to ensure nurses’ job security.
Harsh working conditions, lack of safety precautions at work, poor payments and various labor pressures on these nurses have resulted in the beginning of a new wave of migration from Iran.
The mullahs claimed that it would provide $1 billion out of the regime’s Currency Reserve Fund for the coronavirus response, including payments and bonuses to the hard-working medical staff. However, according to the regime’s Health Minister Saied Namaki, his Ministry has received only around 27 percent out of this budget.
The regime refuses to provide the budget necessary to combat the coronavirus pandemic while, it did not hesitate at in allocating 200 million euros to the terrorist IRGC Quds Force.
The regime pays an average of $1,800 per month to Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists. Although in Iran, nurses have to make ends meet with $120 per month and while their paychecks are usually delayed for three to four months.
Regime President Hassan Rouhani said that “as of October 18 we will allowed to buy and sell weapons,” referring to the end of a UN-imposed arms embargo. If the regime is able to provide for terrorists, why could it not provide adequate resources to protect and support Iran’s nurses and Covid-19 patients?
The regime neglects the Iranian people’s needs, and especially nurses who are facing the coronavirus pandemic parallel skyrocketing high prices, This leaves them in harsh conditions due to poverty and Covid-19.