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Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2017 Dec 19;31:106. doi: 10.14196/mjiri.31.106. eCollection 2017.

Stakeholders' network in Iranian health policy-making: A model for participatory policy-making.

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NHIR, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Secretariat of Supreme Council of Health and Food Security, MOH&ME, Tehran, Iran.
Deputy of social Affair, MOH&ME, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Stewardship, resource generation, financing, and providing services are the 4 main functions in any health system. Using intelligence and common sense in making policies and decisions is a subcomponent of the stewardship. The present study aimed at designing a model that provides better access to the stakeholders' wisdom. Methods: This was a qualitative study in which the data were collected through reviewing documents and references, focused group discussions with experts, and interviewing the stakeholders. The data were analyzed and summed up as a conceptual framework. Then, the framework was developed as a health policy-making stakeholders' network protocol, which included the goal, structure, system process, procedures and standards, management style, and resources. Results: The goal of establishing this network was to facilitate and accelerate the access of policy-makers to the stakeholders' opinions. Members of the network were divided into 2 groups of thematic experts and administrative managers, as real or legal persons. Health policy issues were categorized into 4 fields and defined in 18 subfields. The network was established through forming a national secretariat, under the supervision of the Minister of Health, with the presence of trained experts, and with an exclusive budget. The stakeholders participated in the network both actively and passively. The website and email were the first communication methods although there were also other policy dialogue means, which were publicly declared through the annual calendar. Stakeholders were motivated by being invited to meetings, keeping up their intellectual ownership, and encouraging them. Conclusion: Strengthening the health system stewardship depends on using common sense and information in addition to vision formation and establishment of controlling mechanisms. The stakeholders' network could help establish the 2 last components sustainably. Annual evaluation of the network and its consolidation has also been suggested in this study.


Developing countries; Health policy-making; Iran; Stakeholders’ network

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