MOH News

A doctor for each family is not just an emblem, but a target
30 May 2007
On the occasion of the sixth GCC Conference on Primary Health Care and the seventh Scientific Meeting of the Saudi Society for Community and Family Medicine, organized at Riyadh Intercontinental Hotel during the period from 4 to 6 June 2007, the General Manager of the Executive Bureau of GCC Council of Ministers of Health Dr. Tawfeeq A. Khoja declared that the conference comes in response to the arising concern to improve primary health care services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries. He said such concern reflects awareness among GCC officials of the importance of primary health care and eagerness to advocate its concepts of competency, justice and comprehensiveness. He said the extent of success of health systems is nowadays linked to good performance and quality of primary health care services. "The GCC Ministries of Health are, therefore, exerting great efforts in order to reach required standards in this field", he said.
He said his book titled "Primary Health Care: the History, Achievements, and Future" tries to find ways for utilizing the lessons of the past and the achievements of the present to reach a brighter future for the benefit of the citizens.
He referred to the importance of the decision made by the GCC Ministers of Health at their 63rd conference held at the sidelines of the meetings of WHO General Assembly in Geneva on May 16, 2007, where the Ministers of Health agreed to develop the GCC program for Primary Health Care. They raised an emblem for the year 2009 to be devoted to boosting primary health care and approved the general concept of giving priority to supporting the systems of family and community medicine in an endeavor to confront the challenges involved in primary health care. A number of Techniques have been adopted for realizing the set goals, including establishing plans for training, calling national specialized health authorities to acknowledge national training programs, and allotting a minimum of 20% of MOH training budgets to primary health care training.
Commenting on his book "Views on Primary Health Care in the GCC Countries", Dr. Khoja said the book provides a scientific approach for restructuring primary health care and developing its outputs. He said the publication of the book has raised concern on the GCC level, where meetings were held in presence of experts from the World Health Organization. The meetings yielded recommendations urging for more support to primary health care, including family and community medicine. All such activities have lead the GCC ministers of health to take decisions for giving priority to rehabilitating manpower in the different fields of primary health care, improving the legislations controlling relative medical practices, ensuring training opportunities for all doctors in the field of primary health care by the year 2010, encouraging establishment of national capabilities, and training nursing staff at primary health care centers on the skills of discovering risk factors.
Moreover, pointing to the achievements reached in the field of primary health care services, he said treatment and preventive services were merged at primary health centers, primary health care services linked to the elements of comprehensive development, referring system and joint care boosted, concept of minor specialized clinics adopted, primary health care services joined to family and community medicine, and proof based health care concept adopted.
He said the Council of the GCC Ministers of Health has opened the way for the Gulf Committee of Primary Health Care to take any action which may help in reaching required targets, including convening conferences to which experts and specialists might be invited. "Five GCC conferences have been convened already in Bahrain, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar", he said. "The 6th conference is now being held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the emblem (a doctor for each family)".
The conference, says Dr. Khoja, aims at maintaining communication and exchange of experience in the field of family medicine and primary health care, reviewing the new relative developments at the GCC level and the world as a whole, as well as improving the performance of primary health care centers in light with occurring changes. The conference agenda also include some successful examples of family medicine applications. Health management strategies, medical education and training, protection against contagious diseases, and environmental pollution will also be reviewed.
In this regard, Dr. Khoja praised the health care development strategy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as reflected in the study prepared by the MOH Undersecretary of Planning and Development Dr. Obeid Al-Obeid, denoting that the study has approached a number of important issues, such as the standards of restructuring health centers, their manpower requirements, etc. It also presented a number of successful examples in comparison with the situation in the Kingdom.
Describing the achievement represented by the publication of the above study as historical, Dr. Khoja praised the concern paid to primary health care by the Ministry of Health. "I congratulate the Minister of Health on the publication of this important study", he said. "It has been carried out on a well founded and documented scientific base, whereas the methodology followed is transparent, subjective and practical".
He expressed his hope that the study is put into effect as soon as possible and that a framework for a comprehensive primary health care, covering all supportive, preventive, therapeutic, and rehabilitation aspects, is established. He said the community must be educated and the concept of family medicine consolidated.
Finally, Dr. Khoja expressed his hope that the conference will yield a comprehensive GCC strategy that meets the ambitions of the GCC citizens. 

Last Update : 12 April 2011 09:50 PM
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