MOH News

WHO Assistant Director-General Lauds MOH Efforts in Dealing with Coronavirus
21 February 2015
The Assistant Director-General for Health Security at the World Health Organization )WHO( Dr. Keiji Fukuda, has lauded the level of measures adopted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Saudi Arabia represented by hospitals and reference medical centers with regard to the protection against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Meanwhile, Dr. Fukuda said, "We have noticed a big improvement this year in addition to the previous years' efforts to combat and deal with the virus, particularly in regard to the curative, diagnostic and preventive services." He explained that he monitored during his visit a big improvement in several axes, including establishing an advanced center to monitor and follow up the cases under the name "Command and Control Center", shedding light on the other sub-centers in 20 regions and preparations taken to upgrade diagnoses and analyses at laboratories.
"That is to be added," he said, "to the tough preparations taken to combat the infection at hospitals and promote health awareness." Resuming his statements, Dr. Fukuda said the last axis deals with a package of scientific researches and studies to identify the features of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Within the same vein, Dr. Fukuda called on the Kingdom to continue its concrete actions despite the significant improvement, in order for all efforts to be integrated to combat this virus.
He indicated that although the majority of infection with Coronavirus is still occurring in the Kingdom and some scattered countries, the WHO has not so far classified the disease as an emergency event which constitutes an international concern, noting that there are various international organizations helping in the eradication of the disease.
Dr. Fukuda added, "I am here today leading a delegation, including several international experts from the WHO headquarters in Geneva and other regional offices in Cairo and Riyadh, as well as experts from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in addition to experts from the Pasteur institute for the control of infectious diseases and vaccines in Paris."
In a press conference held yesterday, Thursday, in the presence of the Deputy Minister for Public Health, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saeed, and a group of experts and researchers from the Kingdom and other world countries at the conclusion of a Riyadh-hosted workshop about the latest developments of Coronavirus, Dr. Fukuda said the World Health Organization and the other organizations and agencies will continue cooperating and providing technical support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to eliminate this disease and reduce its health risks.
"As you know," he said, "the outbreak of a problem in any country means the possibility of having this problem in all the countries, particularly with the development of the transportation means, therefore all the organizations must deal and cooperate with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to find a solution to this virus."
Moreover, Dr. Fukuda revealed that the source of the virus is still unknown, and the WHO doesn't know everything about Coronavirus, but it knows many things about its genes and characteristics which occur on daily bases. He noted that the WHO gained such knowledge after some community members and health practitioners developed the virus during their work in the hospitals.
"We know that camels are more likely to be one of the sources of the virus," said Dr. Fukuda, adding, "We need to know more about the causes of the disease and how the infection is transmitted from the source to the human. To that end, we are holding talks today about the disease and inevitably our researches will help us to identify other things that may lead us to the complete truth behind this virus."
Additionally, Dr. Fukuda confirmed that measures adopted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to combat Coronavirus during the last Hajj season were successful, saying, "The evaluation of the WHO for efforts exerted by the Kingdom during the last Hajj season was positive as no single case with Coronavirus was recorded among the millions of Hajj performers." For this reason, Dr. Fukuda urged Saudi Arabia to continue its efforts till finding a solution to this virus and reducing infections with this virus at hospitals and medical centers.
In a similar fashion, Dr. Fukuda said, "We came to the Kingdom at the invitation of the Saudi Ministry of Health to review the situation on the ground regarding Coronavirus and the measures adopted by the MOH to combat this disease, in addition to providing recommendations for our Saudi colleagues and experts who bear the responsibility for finding solutions to eliminate Coronavirus together with the rest of the world experts."
He added, "We aim from our visit of the Kingdom to work jointly with the Saudi Ministry of Health and provide recommendations, help and advice for the ministry to improve the situation and achieve the results required by all of us, as we are partners in this work." He went on saying, "We are going to prepare a detailed report for the Ministry of Health as well as some recommendations which will contribute to bolstering the efforts exerted by the ministry and consolidating preventive services as well as reducing hospital-acquired infection and strengthening coordination among the sectors concerned with animal and human health, including the Ministry of Agriculture."
On his part, the Deputy Minister for Public Health, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saeed, explained that the delegation of the WHO has reviewed during its visit to the Kingdom the mission undertaken by the MOH's Control Room, one of the units of the Command and Control Center. He added that the delegation met with the members of the Command and Control Center, toured Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in Riyadh and inspected preparations taken to confront the Coronavirus disease. "The delegation also," he said, "reviewed measures taken to control infection and inspected readiness of laboratories and diagnosis centers."
Dr. Saeed answered a question on the MOH's allocation of a special budget for researches related to the cases infected with Coronavirus saying, "The Ministry of Health is a service ministry that allocates a part of its funding for researches in an endeavor to serve the citizen, but it is not the sole financer as there are other parties who are concerned also with funding scientific researches and studies, in addition to the universities as this is a joint mission between all parties and the Ministry of Health has always been keen to fund researches a long time ago."

Last Update : 24 February 2015 08:13 AM
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