2008 Blog
MOH Achievements
12 July 2008
The Minister of Health Dr. Hamad Al-Mane has raised his appreciations to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Heir to the Throne for their support and care they are devoting to the health sector.
 
He said MOH health services have witnessed great developments at the different preventive, therapeutic, and rehabilitation levels. The average annual number of patients consulting MOH facilities exceeds 55 million patients, a figure which may increase to 75 million in the near future.
 
Referring to some important achievements witnessed during the last five years, he said 26 hospitals have been operated in 1426, including 13 new hospitals with capacities of 2925 beds, as well as 13 rehabilitated hospitals with capacities of 950 beds, the total number of hospitals in the Kingdom thus rising to 213 hospitals.
 
In 1427, four new hospitals have been established in the cities of Najran, Al-Khasirah, Ahad Al-Masarha, and Al-Kharkhir, with bed capacities of 50 beds each. Zhahran Ophthalmic Hospital has been launched in the same year by a bed capacity of 100 beds. In 1428, the Medical Tower at King Saud Medical Complex has been opened with a capacity of 380 beds, in addition to six new hospitals.
 
The Minister revealed that a number of new hospitals will be operated during the remaining period of the current year. MOH has accomplished the construction of 29 hospitals, 20 new and 9 rehabilitated hospitals, to be operated during the current year, with a total capacity of 1950 beds. A number of hospitals are also under construction to be operated next year. 19 hospitals, including 11 new hospitals, are in their final stages of construction. Other hospitals will be launched during the first half of the Ninth Development Plan. MOH is currently undertaking the works of establishing 97 hospitals in the different parts of the Kingdom, with a total capacity of 18500 beds.
 
The total number of health centers has risen from 1824 centers in 1424 to 1925 centers in 1428. 150 new hospitals will be opened this year to raise the total number of health centers to 2075 centers. A grand national project is now underway for replacing all existent health centers in four stages.
 
On manpower development and Saudization, Dr. Al-Mane said the total number of MOH employees has risen by 12% from 134,000 in 1424 to 152,000 in 1428. The Saudization percentage to the total manpower has risen from 46.8% in 1424 to 52% in 1428. The nursing manpower has risen from 37918 nurses in 1424 to 44395 nurses in 1428, whereas the Saudization percentage among nurses has risen from 32% in 1424 to 42% in 1428.
 
He said the MOH has conducted a comprehensive study for improving health care provision in the Kingdom. The study, which has been submitted to the Royal Court, proposes establishing a national state owned fund for health insurance for the purpose of enabling decision makers to cope with the rapid developments occurring in the field of health care provision worldwide. Agreed scientific methods have been applied in the study, the preparation of which has extended for 6 months. It is based on a set of information covering the health situation in the Kingdom as well as information derived from previous relative local and international studies and reports. It provides summarization for the experiments of 12 countries in developing, financing, and operating their health care services. A number of experts and specialists have been contacted during the research works for exchanging opinions.
 
The health care project adopted by the study (referred to as Balsam) includes a set of principles and bases. It urges MOH to carry out its main role of planning, regulating, supervising, coordinating, and monitoring the quality of health services. It also calls for establishing an independent national body for quality control and distinctly separating the bodies involved in financing, providing, operating, and monitoring health services for ensuring best quality.
 
The project is based mainly on 6 main components:
  1. A set of basic reforms required urgently (unification of medical file, establishment of a national body for quality).
  2. Improvement of primary health care services, both preventive and therapeutic.
  3. Separation of MOH hospitals from MOH and transforming them into independent units having separate corporate identities and adopting the systems of the private sector.
  4. Establishment of a (National Fund for Health Services) for purchasing services to citizens.
  5. Allotting independent budgets to the Directorates of Health Services in the different provinces.
  6. Establishment of a council for health services in each province for supporting the approach of decentralization. 
 
"The decision of launching the cooperative health program has laid the foundation for health sector reformation", he said. "It encouraged MOH to carry out this study, which is a reform project aiming at maintaining cost effective health care provision, promoting service quality, and ensuring continuation for confronting the challenges of population increase and the burdens of financing the services in the long run. The study has been reviewed, its contents discussed with the different sectors, and finally approved by the Council of Health Services".
 
A regards the labs and blood banks the Minister of Health said MOH is intending to operate the National Health Lab, which lies on an area of 132,000 meter square donated by HRH the Heir to the Throne. The project is composed of 5 towers, including the reference labs, together with their high tech equipment.
 
According to the Minister of Health, more than 95 million Saudi Riyals have been allotted for establishing a number of regional labs in the different provinces. Moreover, 230 million Riyals have been allotted for securing detectors and solutions, as well as 70 million Riyals for updating the labs and equipment. MOH has 9 highly equipped centers for detecting poisons and drugs in coordination with the narcotics departments at the Ministry of Defense.
 
The different blood labs have recorded 264,000 blood donors during last year, out of whom 26,000 have been awarded medals of merit (class 3) for offering more than 10 blood donations, whereas 500 citizens have been awarded medals of merit (class 2) for offering more than 50 blood donations.
 
The labs carried out about 1,000,000 pre-marriage checks, out of which 271,000 checks have been carried out last year. Saudi Arabia has obtained a number of appreciation certificates from the World Health Organization for its efforts in the field of labs and blood banks. A joint research is now underway between the MOH and FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) in collaboration of 20 researchers in the different health sectors.
 
MOH is intending to vaccinate all first year students in the primary level with measles vaccine starting from next year 1429/1430 in a hope to eradicate measles within the least possible time. The Kingdom will be declared to be free of malaria at the beginning of next year 1429.
 
MOH has allotted 320 million Riyals for basic vaccines. It is intending to raise this amount to 700 million Riyals yearly through introducing new vaccines, including 41 infective and non infective diseases in the different parts of the Kingdom. Recently a number of vaccines have been introduced for children who are under high risk of developing diseases such as streptococcus and hepatitis B.
 
MOH has added 4 specialized centers for treating AIDS patients in Aseer, Madeenah, Jouf, and Ahsa. It has also established 20 consultative optional clinics for those who want to check AIDS confidentially. In addition, 36 centers for detecting TB have been established, whereas other 35 centers are expected to be added this year. In the Kingdom, the potential for curing this disease is 85% and its rate of detection is 75%.
 
MOH is planning to execute a 3 year educational campaign on hepatitis C virus, whereas vaccination has been made available for combating hepatitis B and A.
 
MOH has allotted 260 new vehicles for combating malaria in Jazan, Aseer, and Tihama within the national project of eradicating malaria in the Kingdom. The said regions, which have recorded the highest prevalence rates of malaria, will be supported by another 240 vehicles. Only 41 malaria cases have been detected this year, compared to 245 cases during the same period of the year 2007, thanks to the border check points established along the borders of Saudi Arabia with the Republic of Yemen. Combating campaigns have reached even Yemen, with a total support of 6 million Riyals for both medical awareness and treatment, an effort which consolidates the opportunities of declaring the Arabian Peninsula a malaria free area.
 
Already, 7 provinces have obtained malaria free certificates from WHO, whereas the other provinces are expected to be declared free by the end the current year.
 
The Kingdom has recorded 267 bilharzia cases as well as 3327 leishmania cases in the year 2007.
 
MOH has set a national plan for combating diabetes in the Kingdom during the 10 coming years (from 2008 to 2018). A national committee as well as work teams have been formed at the MOH level, whereas committees and work teams are being formed in each province under the chairmanships of the directors of health affairs. Data regarding diabetic patients are computerized and guidelines for relative health care personnel are underway. The annual direct cost of handling the disease is estimated to be about 8 billion Saudi Riyals.
 
As regarding drug prices, MOH has approved the Saudi currency as a basis for exporting prices. The prices of the drugs registered since five year or more have been reduced by 1% for each year, a mechanism which has enabled MOH to reduce or maintain the prices of 60% of the drugs registered in the Kingdom.
 
MOH is implementing a project for introducing the concept of family physician for the purpose of providing high quality services. Primary health care is also undergoing development through boosting its best services and introducing new services. Such developments are based on providing preventive, therapeutic and rehabilitation services through 2000 family and community centers in the different parts of the Kingdom. The services provided by each center are based on their geographic location and targeted populations. 
 
The services provided by family and community centers are based on 3 levels, including family and community units, family enters (categories A & B) and supervisory family units. Linked to a number of family centers, the latter also work as administrative centers, in addition to their role in providing consultative, therapeutic and diagnostic services to affiliate clinics and centers. They also provide primary psychological health services, public health services, and quality control services, which are new services that have been introduced within the developmental project of the health care centers. 
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