MOH News
Health Minister’s Speech Before the 5th Session of ICHM in Istanbul
17 November 2015
Speech of His Excellency the Saudi Minister of Health,
Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih.
The 5th Session of the Islamic Conference of Health Ministers (ICHM),
Held in Istanbul, Turkey.
From November 17th-19th, 2015 (corresponding to Safar 5th-7th, 1437H).
 
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Graceful
And peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions.
 
Your Excellency the Health Minister the Republic of Turkey, Dr. Mehmet Müezzinoğlu,
Your Excellences, 
Ladies and gentlemen,
May Allah's peace, mercy and blessing be upon you.
First off, I would like to extend deepest thanks and gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey, for his generous auspices of this meeting, and to the Turkish government for hosing this 5th session of ICHM and for warm welcome and gracious hospitality. 
 
Also, I would like to laud the efforts exerted by His Excellency the Minister of Health of the Republic of Turkey, Dr. Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, for his cooperation with the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to strengthen the cooperation between the Islamic countries, meanwhile praying for Almighty Allah to crown this meeting with total success. 
 
Dear attendees,
It is no secret that we are living today in a world of fierce competition and challenges, and hence countries have found that if they want to increase their chances of success in our contemporary time, they will extremely be compelled to build regional and economic alliances with other countries, including conclusion of agreements and opening markets with each other, in such a manner that serves their common interests and thus their development and prosperity.
 
In view of the strong and different ties between the Islamic countries, as well as the human potentials and natural resources they enjoyed, they could constitute one of the most important alliances, by means of building a common vision and embarking on a harmonic collective action that serves our countries and helps us to cope with development challenges and their requirements. The responsibility we shoulder for our nations and peoples is big, that we should strengthen our unity, in such a manner that serves our renaissance and future generations.  
  
I would like here to confirm that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, may Allah protect him, is so keen to serve Muslims wherever they are, focusing on consolidating pillars of cooperation between the Islamic countries,.  
 
Perhaps one of the best examples, reflecting the benefits of such cooperation, is the health field, where opportunities are endless. Through this platform, I call upon my brothers health ministers in our Islamic world for cooperation to build a solid foundation, in the field of health researches, through which efforts of the Islamic countries are coordinated to make such research base a powerful edifice similar to the best one in the world, focusing on the health challenges facing our countries. Thanks to Allah, the Islamic world is also full of creative talents; we see Muslim physicians and scholars occupy prestigious positions in research bodies across the world. 
 
There is no doubt that our cooperation to encourage researches will contribute to attracting talented people to play their roles in serving our urgent health issues and reducing the human capital flight. Nowadays, we have ambitious plans in the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) on these issues, and recently launched a number of initiatives in the research field. On this occasion, I invite you to take part in these initiatives, and look forward to cooperating with all Islamic countries in this regard.
 
Over and above, I call upon them to coordinate in the fields of prevention of communicable diseases, which is another health field that helps us to benefit from each other and from our joint action in dealing with the world in such field. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia have joined the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) which focuses on three pillars, including prevention, early detection, surveillance and rapid response. The Kingdom believes that the accession of other Muslim countries to the GHSA is a good opportunity for them to deal with the challenges of the communicable diseases outbreaks. 
 
The communicable diseases represent a big challenge that recognizes no boundaries, as our recent experience with the Coronavirus showed us how much effort we need to combat it. Thanks to Allah, we managed to keep this year's Hajj season free from the virus, for the fourth consecutive year. On the other hand, there is another field we must call for, which is that coordination related to medicines, vaccines and medical supplies.  
 
The joint procurement is another benefit of alliance between the Islamic countries, taking into consideration that the size of health care requirement in the Islamic countries is so huge, the matter which allows them to face monopoly of the pharmaceutical companies and ever-increasing prices and save big funds by obtaining their health requirement at fare prices.
 
Allow me to touch on another subject, that we all care and concern about, which is pilgrims health care. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, honored by the service of pilgrims, is fully aware of its responsibilities in this regard, and thereby has taken as its top priorities to provide the pilgrims with the integrated health services, starting from prevention, and then emergency and primary health care services, up to the levels of advanced triple therapy at the holy sites.   
 
We must cooperate in order to keep our Hajj at a good health level and could face epidemics and communicable diseases steadfastly, as their outbreaks may pose a threat to pilgrims and even to the countries from where they come and the whole world. We hope further cooperation and coordination between the Islamic countries in the field of pilgrims' health affairs. The MOH had established a well-equipped "Center for Mass Gathering Medicine" for this purpose, and I call upon all Islamic countries to name a coordinator for communicating with this Center and coordinating with their countries.     
 
I wish that the conference's recommendations will comprise developing a joint plan between the member states, including the followings: 
  • First: Organizing training and educational activities for the pilgrims in their countries about their health during Hajj, because the advance health awareness and prevention of diseases are the cornerstone of protecting their health. Also, I call for benefiting from successful experiences of some countries in this field. Let me refer to the unstinting efforts exerted by Malaysia in this regard, as an example of the required effort. 
  • Second: Ensuring compliance with medical examinations and immunizations, required by the Saudi Ministry of Health, and providing health information in advance about every pilgrim with special health needs.
  • Third: Organizing training courses for public health physicians and health practitioners who are members of Hajj medical missions, to brief them with the updates of health situations during Hajj and their duties and responsibilities accordingly. It does not escape my notice to laud the coordination efforts in this regard by the health missions participating in Hajj. 
 
In conclusion, it is my honor to convey you an invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to hold the 6th Session of the ICHM in Saudi Arabia, as the leadership and people of the Kingdom are keen to embrace this meeting, not far from the Holy Mosque. It will be a good chance to show our concern about such cooperation between countries interconnected with one faith, noble message and common fate. 
 
Peace be upon you, mercy and blessings of Allah.
 



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