Press Release

WHO, Iran’s health ministry advance environmental and social standards in the Iranian public health sector under World Bank collaboration

26 December 2023

WHO has successfully led efforts to enhance environmental and occupational health, as well as patient safety, in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s public health sector. This work has been carried out as part of a strategic partnership with the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

Over 6 weeks, WHO-designated assessors visited and evaluated 236 facilities: 68 hospitals and 168 laboratories. Assessments were based on both national and international benchmarks that reflect the environmental and social standards set by the World Bank.


This huge achievement is part of the Iran COVID-19 Emergency Response Project – Additional Financing (ICERP-AF), a joint venture by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, World Bank and WHO. Initiated in January 2022 with a €76.1 million loan agreement, the project seeks to improve access to life-saving medical equipment and services across the country.

Facilities were classified as green (compliant), yellow (tolerable), brown (conditional) or red (rejected) based on their compliance with the defined standards. Following the assessments, significant improvements were made in areas such as buildings, patient safety, radiation protection, social aspects, staff health, supervisory mechanisms, safety of workplace, and waste management.

The ICERP-AF Stakeholder Engagement Plan, a key component of the project, achieved another major milestone by defining an approach to consultation, information disclosure and grievance redress that is culturally and technically appropriate. This approach actively engages relevant stakeholders, fostering an atmosphere of understanding and facilitating decision-making. Stakeholders can voice opinions and concerns by calling a dedicated 24/7 hotline at 190(8) or by emailing: 

Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO Representative and Head of Mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran, said: “This collaborative effort underscores our commitment to elevating environmental and social standards in Iran's public health sector. The positive outcomes achieved through ICERP-AF will contribute to a safer and more resilient health infrastructure, benefiting both health care providers and the communities they serve.”

Under ICERP-AF, WHO has played a pivotal role in advancing the status of environmental and occupational health and patient safety in designated hospitals and laboratories across Iran.  To achieve this, WHO has worked with the Economic Coordination Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. The joint effort is a significant step towards building a more robust and sustainable health system in the country.

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