The Perceptions of Mashhad Pilgrims and Health Care Providers Regarding Health and Medical Services at the End of Lunar Month of Safar: A Qualitative Analysis

Document Type : Research Paper


1 International UNESCO Center for Health-Related Basic Sciences and Human Nutrition, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran.

3 Endoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgery Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Deputy of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

5 Department of Medical Biotechnology, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

6 Department of Complementary and Chinese Medicine, School of Persian and Complementary Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

7 Departments of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

8 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

9 Metabolic Syndrome Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: "Health for All by 2000" was launched by WHO in 1978 and is based on primary healthcare availability worldwide. During the month of Safar, many people from neighboring cities and countries travel to Mashhad. Since the qualitative approach can lead to a better understanding of access to healthcare from the perception of consumers, this study aimed to assess the perception of Pilgrims and healthcare providers of healthcare services and gain more profound knowledge about healthcare consumers’ experiences. Methods: This qualitative study was conducted in Mashhad during Safar based on conventional content analysis from September 20-27, 2022. This study used a semi-structured in-depth interview on 36 participants, including pilgrims (n=27) and healthcare providers (n=9) such as medical doctors, nurses, and health experts selected through purposeful sampling. The interviews were transcribed word for word. The MAXqda software and Graneheim and Lundman’s qualitative content analysis were used for data analysis. Results: Data analysis revealed three categories, including 1. Understanding the challenges of the treatment services in terms of three subcategories: A. Lack of medical doctors, drug shortages, and higher prices of medicines, B. Experiencing the diseases (skin, cardiovascular diseases, poisoning, and digestive problems, musculoskeletal pain and asthma), and C. Lack of an appropriate place for patient examination and serum injection. 2. Understanding the challenges of health services, including three subcategories: A. Time and place insufficiency of services, B. Lack of access to sanitary detergents, C. Improper cleaning of resting spaces and places, and finally, 3. Understanding the challenges of welfare services, including two subcategories: A. Inadequacy and lack of access to the appropriate rest place, and B. poor quality and sortage of food. Conclusions: The results indicated that access to healthcare, treatment, and welfare is more than just these services. Health policymakers’ commitment to improving healthcare equity, hopefully, leads to positive changes in the healthcare system. Therefore, enhancing social participation in the healthcare system and providing comprehensive education on the optimal use of healthcare services is necessary to empower pilgrims to access better healthcare. 


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