MOH News
Minister of Health Meets with his American Counterpart to Discuss Prospects of Cooperation and Upgrading Health Field
10 September 2015
On the sidelines of the recent visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to the United States, the Minister of Health HE Eng. Khalid A. Al-Falih met with the USA Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Sylvia M. Burwell. The meeting offered an opportunity for both sides to discuss ways to develop and strengthen health cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
 
The history of the relations between the two countries in the field of healthcare dates back to decades, as the United States is considered as one of Saudi Arabia’s most important partners in developing the Kingdom’s healthcare sector. The partnership has witnessed exchanging of expertise and a series of bilateral visits by officials and specialists.The meeting resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Saudi Ministry of Health and the HHS, covering the following fields: health research and technology transfer, allowing the Kingdom’s hospitals and medical staff to have access and training to the latest medical technology, as well as controlling of communicable and non-communicable diseases through the implementation of current best practices in the field. That is to be added to developing human resources in the health sector in order to develop specialists in the healthcare, in addition to providing health information systems, which allow the efficient access to manage healthcare in a manner that enhances patient care services.
 
Within the same vein, Burwell has commended the efforts of the Kingdom in developing its healthcare sector as well as its participation in the Global Health Security Agenda. She has also commended the Kingdom’s admirable efforts in taking care of and prioritizing the healthcare needs of the millions of pilgrims that it hosts each year, necessitating an extensive healthcare operation to ensure a safer environment to the visitors of the holy sites from all parts of the world.  
 
In addition to the meetings at the HHS, Al-Falih also visited the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Washington, D.C. where the two sides discussed establishing a framework for a long-term cooperation in the medical research and technology development. The NIH is the United States’ medical research agency that supports scientific research in the medical related issues.The Minister also took part in the Saudi American Investment Forum, held on Friday, Sept. 4.The forum was an opportunity to discuss the potential investments in various sectors across the Kingdom, including health sector.
During a panel discussion at the forum, Al-Falih delivered a speech on the plan to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of healthcare in the Kingdom and touched on a number of pillars, including: acquisition of new technology; establishment of world class training and education programs for medical staff; and the development of the local content to ensure availability of materials and supplies.
 
Other participants in the forum included Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, directors of leading U.S. universities, in addition to a number of leading companies in the health sector, businessmen, decision makers, physicians, and students.
 



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