MOH News
Dr. Al-Howasi Inaugurates the World Immunization Week on Behalf of the Minister of Health
24 April 2012
   His Excellency the Deputy Minister for Health Affairs, Dr. Mansour bin Nasser Al-Howasi, announced that the Immunization Program enacted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) is one of the Ministry's top-priority programs. Therefore, the Ministry, at the direction of the Minister and under his close follow-up, is keen to proceed on this very path, regarding this program as a top-priority, that is worth close attention and sufficient support.
 
This announcement was made during the inauguration of the World Immunization Week 2012, held on April 24th, 2012, under Dr. Al-Howasi's auspices, on behalf of His Excellency the Minister of Health. “The National Vaccination Committee reviews the vaccination schedule on a regular basis,” Al-Howasi said. “It is also assigned to propose additional types or quantities of vaccination, in concordance with the global trends, and in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO).”
 
Dr. Al-Howasi added, “It is almost beyond doubt that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has substantial steps on the path of immunization. We are all full of content and pride of the achievement we've accomplished in the field of vaccination. To date, the Kingdom has become the world's first country in vaccination coverage. The Ministry of Health (MOH) will continue to pursue on this path with a view to maintaining the Kingdom's excellence in immunization, which has proved evidently effective in reduction, elimination or eradication of a variety of communicable diseases. Besides, the Ministry will continue to coordinate with the WHO with regard to all the international programs meant to eradicate disease.”
 
For his part, the Deputy Minister for Health Affairs, Dr. Zeyad Memish, said in his address before the inauguration ceremony, “The World Immunization Week is celebrated by the WHO at its headquarters, in Geneva, as well as its numerous branches and affiliates in the world's different regions, including the Eastern Mediterranean Region, to which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia belongs. We're celebrating the Immunization Week for the third time in this Region, as well as in the Kingdom. It is celebrated throughout the Kingdom's regions and provinces, under the auspices of the regions' governors, aside from the inauguration ceremony held at the MOH Headquarters, under the auspices of His Excellency the Minister of Health.”
 
Dr. Memish added, “The target assigned to this Week is to reaffirm the colossal importance of vaccination for children as well as all society members; aiming to protect people from the communicable disease targeted by vaccination. We, in so doing, proceed from our unshakable belief that children are tomorrow's resources, on the shoulders of whom civilizations are built, and nations' future depend. It is for this very reason that the World Immunization Week is held under the theme: “Protect your world – Get vaccinated! Vaccination is a societal responsibility.”
 
Dr. Memish went on to say, “The consolidation of all the relevant authorities, as well as all society members (especially parents, teachers and doctors), in raising awareness of the importance of the World Immunization Week, and in underscoring children's vaccination through the various national health awareness programs organized by MOH – this is the fundamental basis through which we can preserve the Kingdom's excellence in this domain (as manifested in the eradication of neonatal tetanus and polio, the strenuous efforts to eradicate measles, rubella and mumps, and the reduction of the incidence of the remaining communicable diseases targeted by immunization). Such achievements, accomplished under the prosperous reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saudi, and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, May Allâh protect them, and under the wise follow-up of His Excellency the Minister of Health, could have been accomplished without the consolidation of all levels, at both the governmental and societal levels.” Dr. Memish concluded his address by praying for Allâh to protect the Kingdom's children, and all society segments, from communicable diseases; especially those targeted by vaccination.
 
The WHO Representative in KSA, Dr. Mostafa Tayan, for his part, commended the Kingdom's efforts in immunization in his address delivered before the inauguration ceremony. He mentioned that the Kingdom has obtained a certificate from the WHO indicating that it is completely free from polio; the last local polio case was recorded in 1995. He also lauded the fact that the Kingdom's vaccination coverage has leapt to 98%; which is reckoned one of highest vaccination levels throughout the region and the whole world.
 
Dr. Tayan added, “The National Vaccination Program has introduced a number of important vaccines, such as the sustainable influenza vaccine (HIB), the hepatitis (B) antiviral, the anti-polio vaccine (IPV), the anti-measles vaccine, and the streptococcus vaccine. This reflects the Government's keen interest in preserving citizens' health and well being, as well as providing all the necessary requirements for the improvement of our youth's health; thus regarding the human element as the cornerstone of the development process.”
 
The representative of Glasco Saudi Arabian Co., Mr. Abdullah Aidarous Sabban, for his part, revealed that the Saudi Food and Drug Administration has approved to embark on the production of eight vaccines listed on the National Vaccine Schedule domestically, as a first phase, to be followed by other phases, so as to meet the current and future requirements of the Saudi Ministry of Health, as well as the GCC states.
 
Within the same context, the child Noaf Ba-Btain delivered a word, in which she said, “We are all well aware that our Islamic Heritage pays thorough attention to prevention of diseases. Among the celebrated sayings, for instance, is: “Prevention is better than cure”, and also: “An ounce of prevention is better than cure”. It is no secret that the Kingdom has accomplished tremendous achievements in the field of vaccination, thanks to the generous support of the Wise Leadership: our dear King, Baba Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz. Therefore, it came as no surprise that the Kingdom got the Global Award for being entirely free from polio, which has always posing a serious risk for our children.”
 
She added, “On behalf of the Saudi children, I would like to deliver three messages: the first is a messages of gratitude to our beloved King, Baba Abdullah, and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Naif, May Allâh protect them, for their care for our health and health related issues (vaccination, treatment, etc.). It does not escape my notice, also, to extend our thanks and gratitude to the Ministry of Health and His Excellency the Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, as well as all the health workers involved in children's health programs. The second message is to be delivered to our parents; to spare no effort to maintain our health, by adhering to the vaccination schedule. Dear parents, allow me to call upon you to put into effect the World Immunization Week's theme: (Protect your world – Get vaccinated!). The third message is devoted to the society; it stems from the spirit of the theme, which denotes that vaccination is the responsibility of all.”
 



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