MOH News
Ministry of Health Launches New Health Control Center
01 June 2014
CandCC Logo.jpgJeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sunday 1st June, 2014:
The Ministry of Health today launched a new health command and control center to protect the public and increase the level of preparedness against future health challenges.
Through the new Command and Control Center, the Ministry of Health will ensure that it can take a proactive and swift action against future public health challenges, such as MERS-CoV, within the Kingdom by ways of continuous coordination and monitoring. The Command and Control Center affiliating to the Saudi Ministry of Health consists of clinicians, scientists, researchers, as well as healthcare and emergency planning experts. Under the direct supervision of His Excellency the Minister of Health, the center has been developed in conjunction with international experts and organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
“We have gained a lot of valuable knowledge, experience and best-practice while dealing with the challenge of MERS-CoV. For this reason we are today launching a new agency that brings together experts under a single roof to take a proactive approach from now on,” said His Excellency Eng. Adel Faqih, “This new agency will not only help us to deal effectively with current challenges, but is also helping us raise general preparedness levels for the future, while upgrading the quality of our healthcare sector.”
The Command and Control Center of the Ministry of Health will ensure that health challenges are managed with a systematic, holistic and comprehensive approach. The Center currently includes a total of 11 platforms, each of which is tasked with addressing a specific topic, but all under the coordination of the control tower platform which acts as the central coordinator of the whole operation.
The platforms include:
  1. Control Tower:  A central unit co-coordinating and monitoring all activities of the Command and Control Center;
  2. Cross-Government coordination: Ensuring the Government as a whole is informed and posted on responsibilities and activities, which are coordinated;
  3. Public Health: Working on data gathering and epidemiological investigations, and coordination with international partners such the World Health Organization and CDC;
  4. Medical Advisory Council: Consisting of scientists, this team advises on scientific and clinical issues relevant to public health;
  5. Labs & Diagnosis: This team acts as a central unit ensuring timely and accurate diagnosis and reporting of results. For example, the team ensures samples are picked up, tested and reported within a defined time-frame;
  6. Anti-Epidemiology Support Platform: Led by leading epidemiologists, this team provides crucial evidence-based information to decision-makers and recommendations on preventive and control measures, such as during Umra and Hajj;
  7. Infection Control: The primary role of this team is to prevent and control infections in healthcare facilities and to inform the public about any required measures of precaution;
  8. Capacity Development: Ensuring capacity is available in healthcare facilities to care for patients safely;
  9. Clinical Operations: Clinicians will ensure patients get the best possible care, and the clinical pathway is applied to all relevant bodies;
  10. Data Analytics: Acting as a horizon scanning team, this team manages and analyzes data for disease tracking and clinical insight, so it is aware of trends and issues before they occur;
  11. Communications: The communication platform of the Command and Control Center will manage public information, education and awareness efforts and coordinate internal communications within the healthcare sector.
Dr. Tariq Madani, Chairman of the Medical Advisory Council, said: “From the new center’s control tower, we now have the ability and capacity to monitor developing health concerns in real time, and to ensure that the appropriate actions are being immediately taken by the responsible team – whether that is getting a patient by air to a specific hospital, or ensuring that the right research about virus behavior is being done.”
“In the past few weeks, two major challenges were being addressed among the priorities of efforts to contain the spread of MERS Coronavirus; the first was ensuring that the Ministry of Health had a full and accurate understanding of the situation with clear and validated data,” said Dr. Anees Sindi, member of the Medical Advisory Council and leader of the Clinical Operations Platform. “While the second was to ensure that positive cases are receiving the best possible care without posing any risk to healthcare staff or other patients.”
“Stringent infection control guidelines have been adopted within the healthcare sector across the Kingdom,” added Dr. Sindi. “We have set in place a system to assess, develop and inspect adherence to the guidelines within hospitals, and are working hard to ensure that medical teams and healthcare facilities everywhere have immediate access to training or resources if they are needed.”
Under the MOH's commitment to transparency and information accuracy, the team at its Command and Control Center has already undertaken a comprehensive review of the positive cases recorded at all hospitals and health centers throughout the Kingdom since the onset of the MERS-CoV. The resulting information is providing the Ministry, the Center, researchers, clinicians and epidemiologists with a valuable tool that is essential in dealing with the challenge of MERS Coronavirus in the best possible way.

Last Update : 04 June 2014 01:38 PM
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