MOH News
Al-Falih Launches Gulf Cancer Awareness Campaign
01 February 2016
His Excellency the Minister of Health and Chairman of the 40th session of the GCC Health Ministers Council, Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, highlighted that the health care is the key element in the Gulf joint action; due to its importance which affects the life of all citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). 
 
Al-Falih has presided over and inaugurated the events of the Gulf Cancer Awareness Week at the Ministry of Health's (MOH) Main Auditorium, on Sunday January 31st, 2016 (corresponding to Rabie Al-Akher 21st, 1437H). “The campaign reflects the common vision of the GCC leaders, may Allah protect them, and their consecutive decisions, to improve the health services with all preventive and therapeutic aspects. Since the foundation of the Council, the leaders were so keen to make the health care one of the main pillars of the fruitful GCC joint action,” said Al-Falih. 
  
He underlined that the GCC health ministers are so keen to promote the preventive health care and activate the principles and dimensions of public health and to improve the healthy lifestyle approach, in order to make the council states come up to the highest international level in public health. He indicated that further to the Gulf joint action for the prevention of communicable diseases in addition to other achievements, the GCC health ministries have not ignored their development programs and the importance of protection against non-communicable diseases in general and cancer in particular.  
   
Al-Falih stated: “Today we are witnessing the outbreak of Zika virus, which is not novel but increased during the past few days, causing international concern.” He underscored that the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) and the GCC health ministries have taken the necessary preventive and precautionary measures against this virus.  
 
He went on saying: “Such international mobilization reminds me of the importance of prevention against the infectious diseases which recognize no boundaries. Since the Gulf states are like one residential area, through which citizens can move easily and conveniently, the prevention against the communicable diseases remains a main objective of the joint action, in an endeavor to build together a bulwark to protect our citizens against the serious and deadly diseases which sweep some countries from time to time,”  
  
He pointed out that the Gulf states are still working jointly to deal with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) which spread in these countries 4 years earlier. He added that sincere work will continue with the relevant bodies to eliminate the virus through health programs and interventions based on certain evidences and scientific researches, in collaboration with prestigious scientific agencies to develop appropriate treatments and vaccines.  
  
 “However, the work on the infectious diseases will not weaken the determination of the ministries of health to curb the non-communicable diseases which threaten the community with a greater harm. The GCC states have issued many resolutions to combat these diseases,” noted Al-Falih.
 
He underlined that the campaign theme: “40/40” is appropriate, because it is based on scientific evidence which shows that 40% of cancers can be prevented through precautionary procedures, and other 40% can be cured if early diagnosed. He added that awareness of the community members, as well as removing their fear of the disease and urging the early detection of cancer, is a very important matter. Hence, the partnership between the governmental bodies and civil society institutions and charitable organizations is considered a main element in this campaign, and for more effective partnership between all parties concerned with this disease. 
 
He drew attention that such activities reflects the international action, as the UN has recently launched the sustainable development goals, the third goal of which is related to what we are launching today, namely the public health of our communities. “We, in the GCC countries, are part of a world which is getting smaller day after day, through which people move between countries and continents, carrying with them pathogens, including viruses and unhealthy lifestyles. On the other hand, this world also gives us opportunities to transfer the knowledge, means of prevention against diseases, health promotion and the best practices of their treatment, including various types of cancers,” Al-Falih added.
 
At the conclusion, he expressed his thanks and appreciation to the initiative of the Gulf Center for Cancer Control and the Gulf Union against Cancer for their good preparation and launching this Gulf week, the event which coincides with the World Cancer Day. He also expressed his thanks and appreciation for the efforts of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Minsters Council and King Faisal Specialist Hospital in supporting the campaign.
 
He also praised the cooperation between the governmental institutions and civil society organizations, in the framework of cancer control, meanwhile extending his thanks to anyone contributed to such noble social activity.
 
Al-Falih underscored the importance to extend the activities of this week to be not limited to one week but throughout the year; due to the pioneering role of the health awareness and the promotion of healthy lifestyle approach yearlong to curb the spread of the disease. 
 
Concluding his speech, Al-Falih stated that such good efforts will contribute to realizing the aspirations of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and his brothers the leaders of the GCC states, May Allah protect them all, towards raising the health standards in our countries. Furthermore, he confirmed that this disease prevention and control is a responsibility, being shouldered by all those working in the health sectors, along with our partners in the civil society organizations and other community groups. On behalf of all GCC ministers of health, Al-Falih extended his greetings to all those involved in this matter, wishing them success.
    
It is worth mentioning that the launch of this Gulf week is reckoned the first of its kind in the field of cancer control, and its activities are organized simultaneously in all capitals of the GCC states and many major cities.
 
 
 



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