Donors' Participation in Iran's Health System: Challenges and Solutions

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Health Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Philanthropic activities play an important role in health systems. Donors contribute to financing, generating resources, and providing healthcare services in Iranian health system. However, they face many challenges. This study aimed to identify barriers to donors’ participation in the Iranian health system and to provide solutions.

This qualitative study was performed using semi-structured interviews with 38 donors and 26 policy-makers and managers in the social affairs department of health ministry and medical universities in 2018. In addition, document analysis was performed and the relevant data were extracted. Thematic analysis was used for data analysis. All ethical considerations were followed in this research.

Insufficient structures, poor communications, low trust, ineffective working processes, bureaucracy, insufficient senior managers’ support, weak legal support and poor monitoring were the most important challenges for donors’ participation in the Iranian health system. Effective donor participation in the health system requires the creation of an appropriate system including the right structures, processes, culture, and management. The necessary changes must be planned, led and monitored to promote donors’ participation in healthcare. A conceptual model was developed to strengthen donors’ participation in the health system.

Iranian donors face structural, procedural, cultural, and managerial challenges when financing the health system, generating resources, and providing health services. Policy-makers and managers should tackle these challenges and adopt strategies to reinforce donors’ participation in the health system. Planning, organizing, leading, monitoring, evaluation, transparency, accountability, and a commitment to meet donors’ needs are necessary for successful philanthropy initiatives in the health sector. 


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Volume 11, Issue 11
November 2022
Pages 2514-2524
  • Receive Date: 25 July 2020
  • Revise Date: 23 December 2021
  • Accept Date: 26 December 2021
  • First Publish Date: 28 December 2021