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MINISTRY OF HEALTH ANNOUCNCES PACKAGE OF MEASURES TO ADDRESS CORONAVIRUS (MERS-CoV)
5/13/2014  
His Excellency the Acting Minister of Health, Eng. Adel bin Mohammed Faqih. has announced today a new package of measures to address the coronavirus (MERS-CoV), including tight infection control guidelines and a new MERS-CoV command centre.

The command centre is meant to address the emergent health challenges in the Kingdom. It is composed of several units, namely: the control tower, a unit for coordination with the relevant authorities, the scientific committee, the advisory scientific council, the epidemiology unit, the infection control and combat unit, the capacity building unit, the health operations unit, the information analysis unit, the internal and external communication unit, and the laboratories and diagnosis phases units.

The new measures include:

  • Issuing new stringent guidelines for infection control based on a new case definition;
  • Tasking a constellation of experts with oversight of rapid response policies across the Kingdom;
  • Putting into action a system to review the current capability and capacity within healthcare facilities in the Kingdom, and;
  • Conducting comprehensive review of the number of the corona cases recorded at all hospitals and health centers throughout the Kingdom since the onset of the MERS-CoV.
 
On this occasion, His Excellency Eng. Adel Faqih said, “The package of measures the Ministry of Health has announced today will upgrade the preventive measures against infection spread, meanwhile increasing readiness within the healthcare sector to deal with future challenges.” Eng. Faqih added, “This process will ensure that the health sector across the Kingdom is working within the most up-to-date international best practice guidelines so as to protect patients and the public.” 

or his part, Dr. Tariq Ahmed Madani, a freelance advisor to the Ministry of Health, said, “The measures that came to forec today are envisioned to put us in a better position to address the current public health challenges. This includes a new description of cases, and the guidelines upon which spcialists at hospitals and health centers will rely on to deal with case. This set of guidelines has been developed by a distinguished constellation of experts, specialists and physicians, in addition to specialized international organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
 
Infection Control Guidelines and Case Definition:
As well as issuing a new case definition, new stringent infection control guidelines to contain the spread of infection have been issued and circulated to all healthcare facilities in the Kingdom. This includes internationally approved guidance as to how to deal with suspected and confirmed MERS-CoV cases. It also provides tips regarding how to contain the virus both in hospitals and in the community by large. 

Rapid Intervention Teams, monitoring the public health challenges:
A rapid intervention team has been designated and tasked with MERS-CoV infections and future health challenges, with the aim of addressing corona cases throughout the Kingdom, aside from the other challenges that have to do with the current health status. Over and above, it seeks to ensur that the Kingdom is right on the right track in terms of the achieving the quick, and optimal use of the available resources and capabilities, as well as making sure that all the measures are soundly taken in a manner that protects people's health.

In this context, Dr. Tariq Ahmed Madani was quoted as saying, “The Advisory Medical Council, which I lead, will be part of the new response unit so will continuing to play a part in addressing MERS-CoV as well as future challenges.”.
 
An in-depth review of current capability and capacity within healthcare facilities:
To ensure hospitals have capacity and capability to deal with MERS-CoV cases, the Ministry of Health is reviewing all existing Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and isolation bed capacity in major healthcare centres in the Kingdom. In addition, the review is looking at additional staffing requirement needs to operate these beds.

Conducting comprehensive review of the number of the corona cases since the onset of the MERS-CoV:
The Ministry of Health has initiated a review of all MER-CoV cases to offer the public full transparency. It is expected the review report will be issued within weeks, in which the number of corona cases since its very first onset shall be enumerated. It will also identify the response of such cases for treatment and recovery, thus shedding some light on the trends in recovery as well as clinical insights that can help inform Ministry of Health actions. 




 
 
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