Rouhani accepts health minister’s resignation, picks caretaker 

January 4, 2019

TEHRAN — On Thursday, President Hassan Rouhani accepted Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh-Hashemi’s resignation and named Saeed Namaki, deputy director of Budget and Planning Organization for scientific, cultural and social affairs, as the caretaker minister, IRNA news agency reported.

Qazizadeh-Hashemi who submitted his resignation to the cabinet last week formally bid farewell to his deputies and colleagues on December 31, 2018. 

MP Elyas Hazrati tweeted on December 30 that Qazizadeh-Hashemi has resigned due to budget cut at health sector budget in the budget bill for the next Iranian fiscal year 1398 (starting on March 21).

One of the main achievements of Qazizadeh-Hashemi was implementation of the healthcare reform plan.  

The healthcare reform plan, aiming at decreasing the out-of-pocket expenses for the patients, promoting natural birth, and supporting underprivileged patients suffering from rare or incurable diseases, was launched in the country in May 2014. 

The plan has since faced a barrage of harsh criticism for being futile and inefficient with regard to the resources diverted into implementing it.

However, in in an interview with Persian language Sharq newspaper published in July 2017 Qazizadeh-Hashemi highlighted that healthcare reform plan’s success justifies the expenses arising from its implementation. 

Moreover, in the Iranian calendar month of Azar (November 22-December 12) he announced that 25 percent increase in the number of hospital beds compared to the years before the Islamic Revolution of 1979 is result of healthcare reform plan enforcement.

Since 2014 some 27,000 beds are added to the hospitals, he added. 

Moreover, deputy health minister Qasem Janbabaei said in August 2018 that in order to promote natural childbirth all the expenses for this kind of delivery is now covered by the ministry at state-run hospitals. 

Namaki, the new caretaker minister, also said on Tuesday that he would also support healthcare reform plan, however, he noted that the budget proposed for the ministry for the next year is tight, ISNA news agency reported. 

According to the budget bill proposed for the next fiscal year, 350 trillion rials (about $8.3 billion) will be allocated to the health sector.

MQ/MG

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