MOH News
GCC Health Ministers Adopt Al-Manama Declaration on Financing Health Systems
22 January 2013
   The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Health Ministers have adopted Al-Manama Declaration on Financing Health Systems as an international and regional declaration which emphasizes the significance of the provision of universal health coverage; which implicates equity, efficiency and reinforcement of health protection, to be deemed among the basic determinants of social development.
The Declaration was adopted on Wednesday and Thursday, 27th - 28th Safar, 1434 H, corresponding to 9th - 10th January, 2013, as their Excellencies the GCC Health Ministers came to conclude the 74th Conference of the GCC Council of Health Ministers, at its 38th Session hosted by The Kingdom of Bahrain under the motto: (Health Finance).
The adopted declaration included establishing a council / center or a high-level committee of decision makers; which involves representatives from all related bodies and parties. Their tasks include setting a roadmap to achieve universal health coverage for all citizens and residents including preparing legislations and formulating necessary strategies.
The  Declaration implicated the execution of universal and thorough reviews of health systems with its various components, including the current health financing systems to identify strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities to achieve the objective of universal health coverage through the use of internationally agreed review methods of these systems in general and health financing systems in particular, in addition to the implementation of National Health Account Systems for characterizing the financial flow in the health system, and for studying the level of expenditure on health through introduction of recent NHA systems;  as well as institutionalizing such systems.
In addition, the Declaration implicated working towards holding effective dialogues and building constructive partnerships with related bodies, such as the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP), for mobilization of adequate financial allocations to manage health systems. That's to be added to the use of innovative methods for health financing and avoidance of the impact of financial and economic recession on the national financial support to promote the health systems. The Declaration also included establishing or strengthening the MOH's Health Economics Unit, and qualification of the specialized national competencies to be in charge of the regular analysis of the NHAs and conducting related surveys, utilizing the health services, health expenditure surveys and national health accounts.
The Declaration placed particular emphasis on the following work priorities towards universal health coverage; such as leadership, governance, equitable access to high-quality health service, provision of balanced and well managed human resources, ensuring basic access to technology and drugs and partnership with (and organization of) the private sector, besides strengthening the principal role played by the primary health care in achieving equity and easy access to basic health services in a universal way by all community sectors.
Furthermore, the Declaration gives rise to the theme: “More funds for better health!”, by way of rationalization of resources, sustaining the application of quality standards, improving quality control and adequate use of drugs and medical supplies, achieving the ultimate benefit of medical and information technology, motivating workers, improving the efficiency of hospital performance (including the size of the facility and the duration of stay), obtaining the proper high-quality health care from the first time, with emphasis on patient safety, elimination of waste and application of the concepts of governance and critical evaluation, improving the efficiency and performance of health systems and the positive strategic purchasing.
The Declaration underscored strengthening communication networks among the Council States to exchange and transfer experiences; and establishing national expertise houses in the fields related to health systems financing, cost accounting, and so forth, in addition to calling upon the Executive Board to strengthen cooperation with the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, and other organizations and specialized experience houses in various fields of financing health systems and health accounts to provide technical support to GCC member states to enhance their capacities and experiences in health financing systems development; with the objective of provision of universal health coverage.
Their Excellencies the Health Ministers have adopted the amendment on sanctions and penalties on the acceptance of healthily unfit expatriates to work in GCC States in the list of medical examination of expatriates in GCC States, prepared by the GCC Central Committee for Expatriate Workers. The Member states shall undertake what they deem appropriate with regard to the re-examination of the expatriates after their arrival and sending quarterly reports from the GCC States of the unfit cases that were re-examined to the Executive Board; in order to take the appropriate punitive measures on the violating centers.
In addition, their Excellencies the Ministers have called on the GCC member states to identify and name any of the centers that can be accredited by the Executive Board as collaborative referential centers, provided that those centers shall be accredited by specialized committees according to the Guide of Accreditation and Evaluation of GCC Referential (Collaborative) Centers; besides the special standards of each specialized center. That's to be added to forming a specialized technical committee to set the general framework and special mechanisms to the potential benefits that the Council States’ citizens could gain from these specialized centers.
The Ministers stressed on abiding by the regulations that were issued by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority; provided that importing and permitting registered and non-registered drugs, as well as those enclosed with a list of importing drugs license, are issued by the Drug Control Department in the state; and shall be prescribed by a special medical prescription by a consultant physician of internal medicine or a consultant of the specific medical specialty at hand, in addition to submitting quarterly reports about the permitted and consumed quantities for the beneficiaries, not to forget inspection on importers of these drugs, verification of the permitted and consumed quantities by beneficiaries, organization of awareness campaigns meant to warn people against doping, as well as calling upon the GCC General Secretariat to submit the relevant resolutions and legislations issued by the General Secretariat and member states to the Executive Board.
It worthwhile to mention that his Excellency the Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, has led the Saudi delegation participating in that meeting. He shed light on the importance of those decisions, which he hope to contribute to supporting the march of joint action between the Gulf States; in an endeavor to improve the level of the health services, and provide such services to the citizens of GCC States.

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