MOH News
The World Commemorates World Asthma Day
03 May 2008
Under the theme (You Can Control Your Asthma) the world celebrates the World Asthma Day (WAD), which will take place on Saturday May 3, 2008, said Dr. Tawfeeq Ahmed Khoja, the Director General of of the Executive Office of the GCC Council of Health Ministers and the National Coordinator of the Naitonal Scientific Committee for Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment.
He said the GCC countries will participate in the occasion, which coincides this year with a number of programs and activities organized by a number of bodies in the GCC countries. The Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with the Executive Office of the GCC Council of Health Ministers, the United Nations Office, and the Naitonal Scientific Committee for Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment, will organize an international conferecne within the activities of WAD, which will continue from May 3 to May7, 2008.
He said a folk of local, regional, and international specialists will attend the event to cast light on the comprehensive study carried out by the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the title: The Facts and Realities of Asthma, the Economic Burden of Asthma Care, and the Challenges it Imposes on Health Systems.
According to Dr. Khoja the WAD events will yield the Riyadh Declaration on the 2020 vision through adopting the National Program of Asthma Control, which involves a number of preventive, therupeutic, and training aspects.
Commenting on asthma, he said it is a common non infective disease which develops at any stage of life. Patient must use drugs and avoid irritant factors in order to be able to control the disease.
He warned that asthma is one of the most important and pressing diseases due to its morbidity, mortality and disabling effects as well as its psychological, social and economic costs (The annual cost of caring asthma patient exceeds 6 billion dollars in USA, 2 billion dollars in UK, and 460 million Dollars in Australia).
Referring to the high spreading rate of the disease, whether inside or outside the Kingdom, he said WHO and the International Commission of Asthma Combating have set international goals to lower mortality rates of the disease by 50%, admission to hospitals by 25%, and absence from school due to asthma by 50%.
He said the National Scientific Committee for Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment has a number of goals to follow, including training health teams, supporting school programs, coordinating with regional, Gulf and international organizations, following the situation in the provinces, reviewing the Unified National Guideline every three years, setting educational programs, coordinating with the private sector, and ensuring effective contacts between the different bodies involved in asthma control and treatment.
According to Dr. Khoja, the committee realized a number of achievements, including training 75 specialists in different relative fields, distributing 60,000 copies of the Unified National Guideline to government and private hospitals, and allotting a prize for the best performance.
He said about 2 million people are affected by asthma in the Kingdom, while infection rate among school children is estimated by 10-20%, the highest rates being in Taif (23%), Hail (22), Jeezan (21), Qaseem (16%), Jeddah (12%), and Eastern Province (10%). 

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