In an open letter to the mullahs’ president, Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian Nursing Organization revealed that only 110,000 nurses are available to support 140,000 hospital beds throughout Iran.
In the letter, published by the ILNA state-run news agency on June 16, 2020, the organization also revealed that at least 7,400 nurses had been infected with the Coronavirus.
Following widespread protests by nurses across Iran and public pressure, the Iranian Nursing Organization was forced to write an open letter about the problems of nurses to let off some steam and quell the protests.
Excerpts from the open letter are as follows:
Eight-tenths of a nurse for each hospital bed
Of Iran’s 250,000 nurses, including employees, students, and retirees, only 110,000 are active for 140,000 hospital beds and work in hospitals. This means that we have only eight-tenths of the nursing staff for every hospital bed in any given 24 hours.
Of the 110,000, about 65,000 to 68,000 nurses have served patients infected with COVID-19 during the past four months. This figure rises daily as the virus continues to spread in other provinces.
Of the 65,000 to 68,000 nurses, 50% – or at least 32,000 nurses – were continuously in direct contact with Coronavirus patients, day and night, for 2 weeks to 2 months. These nurses were thus deprived of access to their families, including their spouses, children, and parents.
Due to their close interactions with Coronavirus patients, as many as 7,400 nurses have been infected with COVID-19 as of June 16. Of the 18 nurses who lost their lives, 7 were from northern Gilan Province. The rest were from Tehran and other parts of the country.
Financial fraud and non-payment of nurses’ salaries
Due to the lack of manpower and the economic situation, they [the University of Medical Sciences] refuse to honor nurses’ legal requests for early retirement.
One of the worst things to happen to nurses, particularly in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, is that despite the University of Medical Sciences’ promise to hire and employ nurses for a year, nurses have remained without pay for 2.5 months.
In Gilan province, for example, the University of Medical Sciences has provided nurses with an 89-hour compulsory hourly contract. The university has made all payment of compensation and benefits subject to nurses signing this contract.