MOH News
MOH Organizes a Workshop on Elderly Health
10 September 2014
The Ministry of Health (MOH), represented by the Health Centers and Programs Affairs General Department, has organized a workshop on the health of the elderly people under the title “Application of the Elderly Healthcare Strategy in Primary Healthcare" on Dhul Qa'dah 12th–13th, 1435H (corresponding to September 7th– 8th, 2014) in Riyadh. The event was held under the slogan "Our Fathers, We Are Proud to Serve You". 
The workshop aimed at exchanging local and international expertise in the field of elderly healthcare among physicians coordinating the Elderly Care Program as well as the technical supervisors of the program in all the health regions and provinces. The participants in the workshop included an elite of experts in this vital field from the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers' Council, some Arab Gulf States as well as the Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Affairs, King Saud University and King Saud bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences.
The workshop reviewed the MOH's application plan of the "Health of Older People National Strategy (2010-2015)", which was executed by the Elderly Care Program. It also discussed the steps taken to apply the executive plan of the strategy, the achievements of the Elderly Care Program since its application in 1431H/2010, the latest developments in the field of elderly healthcare, the future plans to improve the quality of the elderly people’s lives so that they can enjoy good health and an active life and participate in the development of their community through their wealthy experiences. The workshop also reviewed the experiences of the Gulf States in this domain.
The workshop came as part of the MOH’s ongoing endeavors to develop plans to care for this beloved age group in compliance with the values of our true religion and in realization of what they have contributed to their community. In the context of the Ministry's keenness to provide health services for all groups of the community, the MOH’s Agency for Public Health has adopted the responsibility to develop a national strategy on elderly healthcare. The initiative aims at providing comprehensive and integrated health services for them.
Since the World Health Organization "WHO" considers the primary healthcare the cornerstone of aging, the Health Centers and Programs Affairs General Department has implemented the executive plan of the Health of Older People National Strategy through the development and application of the Elderly Care Program. 
Several worksheets on the elderly people’s health were discussed during the workshop; given that Director of the Elderly Care Program at the MOH's Health Centers and Programs Affairs General Department Dr. Maison Al-Amoudi talked about the application of the Health of Older People National Strategy, while Director General of the Executive Office of GCC Health Ministers’ Council Professor Tawfiq Khouja tackled the application of Riyadh Declaration on Elderly Care. Another working paper on the Ministry of Social Affairs' home care services was delivered by Dr. Talaat Waznah.
In addition, Mr. Suleiman Al-Shammary outlined a worksheet on the age-related aging and population diseases in the Middle East and the world, shedding light on the requirements that should be met by the elderly care providers. Also, a working paper on dementia-related behavioral changes and early detection of cancer among the elderly was delivered by Mr. Hashim Balubaid. Lastly, Dr. Mina al-Shaikh briefed the workshop on the elderly healthcare strategy and the working plan in Bahrain.
The wide-range views and discussions by the participants in the workshop contributed to the exchange of experiences, enjoyed by many participants at the local and international levels.
It is worth mentioning that the Elderly Care Program mainly aims at maintaining the elderly people’s health through providing them with comprehensive, integrated, continuous, attainable and high-quality services at the primary health care centers as well as the early detection of the physical, mental and social problems which are common among this age group. It also aims at reducing the averages of morbidity and mortality and easing the burden of their complications on the elderly people, community and the health sector. It also calls for boosting the healthy and active aging, supporting the positive view towards the elderly people, encouraging them to play a productive role in the community and adopting the elderly-friendly health centers concept.
In addition, the Health Centers and Programs Affairs General Department has furnished the primary health care centers in all regions and provinces so that they could provide comprehensive and integrated services for the elderly people, making use of a well-trained and multi-specialized medical team. It also developed an integrated system for applying the program and providing comprehensive health services (therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitation) for the elderly.
The department also developed and implemented plans to build the capacities of the medical cadres, including doctors and nurses working at the primary health care centers. This comes as part of the department’s ongoing attempts to train the medical cadres on providing comprehensive healthcare for the elderly. It also developed the National Protocol of Elderly Healthcare with the aim of using it as an effective method for providing comprehensive and integrated healthcare services for the elderly in order to meet their health, psychological and social needs.

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