The Perceptions of Mashhad Pilgrims and Health Care Providers regarding Health and Medical Services in 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 Department of Medical Biotechnology, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

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

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

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

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



Introduction: 'Health for All by the Year of 2000' was a movement launched by WHO in 1978 and based on primary healthcare introduced to countries around the world. Every year, at the end of the month of Safar, many people from neighboring cities and countries, travel to Mashhad. Since qualitative approach can lead to better understanding of access to healthcare from the perception of consumers, the purpose of this study was to assess the perception of Pilgrims and healthcare providers of access to healthcare services and gain deeper knowledge about the experiences of consumers of healthcare. Methods: This was a qualitative study conducted in Mashhad during Safar based on conventional content analysis in from 20 to 27 September 2022. In this study, a semi-structured in-depth interview was conducted in 36 participants including pilgrims (n=27) and healthcare providers (n=9) such as medical doctor, nurses, and health experts who selected through Purposeful sampling. The interviews were recorded and transcribed word for word.  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 3 subcategories: A. experience the lack of medical doctor, drug shortages and higher prices of medicines, B. experience the diseases (skin, cardiovascular diseases, poisoning and digestive problems, musculoskeletal pain and asthma), and C. experience the lack of appropriate place for patient examination and serum injection. 2. Understanding the challenges of health services including 3 subcategories: A. time and place insufficiency of services, B. lack of access to sanitary detergents, and C. improper cleaning of resting spaces and places, and finally, 3- Understanding the challenges of welfare services including 2 subcategories: A. inadequacy and lack of access to the appropriate rest place, and B. poor quality and lack of foods. Conclusions: The data indicated that access to healthcare, treatment and welfare is about more than just the existence of these services. The commitment of health policymakers to improve equity in healthcare will hopefully lead to positive changes in the healthcare system. Therefore, it is necessary to increase social participation in the healthcare system in combination with comprehensive education in optimal use of services provided by the healthcare system in order to empower pilgrims to access better healthcare.


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  • Receive Date: 27 March 2023
  • Revise Date: 13 April 2023
  • Accept Date: 16 April 2023
  • First Publish Date: 16 April 2023