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Paper Information

Journal:   ARCHIVES OF IRANIAN MEDICINE   December 2018 , Volume 21 , Number 12; Page(s) 566 To 571.

Evaluating the Women Health Volunteers Program in Iran-a Quarter Century Experience (1992– 2016)

* Tehran University of Medical Sciences, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Tehran, Iran, Address: No 70, Bozorgmehr Ave., Tehran, Iran
Background: Running for more than 25 years, the Women Health Volunteers (WHV) program in Iran has made many great achievements. Considering the new expectations from the health system, this national program needs to be revised and undergo fundamental changes. Although many studies have been conducted to evaluate this program, there still is a lack of a comprehensive nationwide assessment containing policy recommendations. Methods: This study was conducted in a qualitative approach. The data were obtained from 3 sources: national documentations, semi-structured questionnaires by 49 key informants, and focused group discussions. The program was assessed in 4 domains including the program, goals, achievements, improved opportunities (weaknesses), and strategies for improvements. Results: The collected data were categorized into 4 main themes including goals and objectives, achievements, weaknesses, and recommendations. Main achievements of the WHV program are: increasing people’ s participation especially women, increasing health literacy, and increasing coverage and utilization of health services. The most important weaknesses of the program include: lack of a national roadmap and policy plan for the WHV program, lack of true belief in people’ s participation in policymakers, weakness in comprehensive system monitoring and evaluation, and inadequate funding. Conclusion: Like many other health system programs in the country, the WHV program suffers from the lack of a binding strategic plan and goal so that by changes in management, sustainability of the program becomes hampered. An appropriate solution would be to operate the WHV program like a non-government organization (NGO) under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME).
Keyword(s): Iran,Organization and administration,Program evaluation,Volunteers
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