The Ministry of Health, in cooperation with Merck, concluded the first event of the Excellence in Multiple Sclerosis Care Program, with the participation of specialized doctors, nurses, and pharmacists interested in neurological diseases related to this disease from within the Kingdom. The program aims to raise the efficiency of the health care team for the care of multiple sclerosis patients, including doctors, pharmacists, and nurses, in line with the Kingdom's vision 2030 and the role of the Ministry of Health to provide the best health services for this important segment of patients.
Dr. Hani Al-AKKad, Consultant in Neurology and Neurophysiology, Head of the Neuroscience Center at King Abdullah Medical Complex in Jeddah, and a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Program in the Ministry of Health explained that Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic immune disease that mainly affects the central nervous system, leading to a variety of symptoms which strength and severity vary from one person to another, and that its causes are not known yet. It consists of three types: degenerative-multiple sclerosis, which is the most common (80-90% of cases), the secondary advanced multiple sclerosis, which affects 30% of multiple sclerosis patients, and usually occurs after long years of disease; and the advanced multiple sclerosis which occurs in 5 to 15% of multiple sclerosis patients.
Dr. Hani Al-Akkad praised the Ministry of Health's efforts to raise awareness of this disease and provide the best health services for those infected with it in the Kingdom's hospitals. There are medicines that help alleviate the symptoms associated with the disease, treat relapses or attacks, and modify the course of the disease, in addition to physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, and balanced nutrition, which help patients deal with the disease and improve their quality of life.
Regarding the program, Dr. Al-Akkad emphasized that it comes within the framework of the Ministry's interest in raising cultural awareness among health practitioners in the Kingdom about this disease, in cooperation with the private sector, with which the Ministry is keen to establish partnerships to achieve common goals that would raise community health awareness in general and discuss the concept of disease, methods of diagnosis and treatment, and the latest findings of modern medicine in this field.
For his part, Dr. Islam Abdel Hamid, Regional Medical Director for the Arab Gulf Region at Merck, said that the program aims to provide health practitioners in the Kingdom with the most important developments about this disease. He underlined that the Saudi Ministry of Health is making many efforts in this regard, and that Merck is keen to cooperate on an ongoing basis, as part of its permanent role to support the community and health care providers to reach the highest levels of patient care.
Dr. Haitham Habashi, Director of Merck in Saudi Arabia, added that Merck has always looked forward to participating in health initiatives as an integral part of its role towards the Saudi health community and in its belief in the supportive role that the private sector should provide as part of the health system in the Kingdom, especially in light of the current health conditions and challenges the whole world is experiencing. Merck always looks forward to fruitful cooperation with the Ministry of Health in its relentless pursuit of better care for patients.