17 Rabi' I 1445 - 2 October 2023
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Eye of Riyadh
Healthcare | Sunday 24 May, 2015 9:30 am |

Al-Falih: MERS checked

Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih stressed the importance of supporting primary health care in GCC countries in order to reduce economic burdens, noting that diabetes is one of the top diseases that require intensive preventative measures to reduce high rates in the region.

In his speech during the 40th session of the GCC Council of Health Ministers on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 68th General Assembly of the World Health Organization meeting in Geneva, Al-Falih said: “We must apply new ideas and empower Gulf citizens to be positive partners in the development of health care processes, not only recipients of such care.

“We must work together to develop comprehensive high-quality health programs and facilities.”
According to Al-Falih, the Ministry of Health has been successful in overcoming coronavirus in the Kingdom through advanced and sophisticated measures.
The minister spoke specifically about the Kingdom’s experience in combating Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), explaining that the Ministry of Health worked with a global tech company to launch an electronic system to transform epidemiological surveys from paper to digital form and allow for the rapid transfer and disclosure of information about the virus.

As the world today is facing many challenges of communicable and infectious diseases such as Ebola and hepatitis C, he said GCC countries must work on establishing national laboratories with advanced standards and systems to diagnose such viruses and diseases.

As for the challenges facing the health sector in the Gulf countries in fighting noncommunicable diseases and controlling communicable diseases, the minister called for greater Gulf integration, investment in human capital development and promotion of health safety initiatives and assessments.

He noted that GCC health programs passed the phase of focusing on treatment of noncommunicable diseases and are now in the stage of protection and controlling risks leading to such diseases, referring specifically to the expansion of unhealthy lifestyles in the GCC, high smoking rates, obesity, poor eating choices and limited exercise.
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