Oral health policymaking challenges in Iran: a qualitative approach

Mohammadtaghi Mohammadpour, Peivand Bastani, David Brennan, Arash Ghanbarzadegan, Jamshid Bahmaei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Background: As the strategies proposed for oral health improvement in developed countries are not adapted for developing ones, this study aimed to identify the challenges of oral health policy implementation in Iran as a low-income developing country.

Methods: This qualitative study was conducted in 2019 in Iran as a middle-eastern developing country. The study population consisted of experts who had experience in oral health and were willing to participate in the study. Snowball sampling was used to select 12 participants for semi-structured interviews and saturation was achieved after 16 interviews. Guba and Lincoln criteria including credibility, transferability, confirmability and dependability were used to determine reliability and transparency, and finally a five-step framework analysis method was used to analyze the data.

Results: The analysis of the interviews resulted in identification of 7 main themes that were categorized into 5 problems of policy implementation as proposed by the Matus framework. The main themes of executive and preventive challenges to implement oral health policies were categorized as organizational problems, the main themes of educational and resource challenges were situated as material problems, and the main themes of insurance, policy making and trusteeship challenges were considered as legal, policymaking and perspective.

Conclusion: The implementation of oral health policies has faced some challenges. It seems that the national coverage of oral health and integration of these services in prevention and serious attention to the private sector can be considered as the most important strategies for achieving improved oral health in Iran.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Oral Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Developing country
  • Oral health
  • Policymaking
  • Strategy


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