The Telephone Helpline of Persian Medicine: Social Accountability During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Document Type : Letter to the Editor


1 Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine, School of Persian Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Center for Educational Research in Medical Sciences (CERMS), Department of Medical Education, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Social accountability serves as an essential factor in improving the quality, efficiency, and responsiveness of health systems (1). Health and medical education policy-makers emphasize social accountability as a measure of medical universities’ commitment with regard to community health priorities (2). In 1995 the World Health Organization (WHO) defined social accountability as: “The obligation of the medical schools to direct their education, research and/or service activities towards addressing the priority health concerns of the community, region, and/or nation they have the mandate to serve. Priority health concerns are to be jointly identified by governments, health care organisations, health professionals, and the public”(3). Social accountability principles oblige education policy-makers to consider costeffectiveness, quality, equity, and relevance in planning, delivering, and evaluation of educational programs, services and research activities (2). Social accountability in medical curriculums would fulfill the target community’s requirements in the health system (4). The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) and the Global Consensus for Social Accountability of Medical Schools (GCSA) have emphasized that every medical university’s mission should be based on linking medical education systems with community health requirements.


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