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GCC Health Ministers Sign the Riyadh Declaration over Health Systems Performance as a Regional and Int'l Statement
05 February 2015
At the end of the 78th Conference of the GCC Health Ministers Council, which was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday and Thursday 15th-16th Rabei II, 1436H, corresponding to 4th-5th February 2015, their Excellency the Gulf health ministers signed the Riyadh Declaration over health systems performance as an international and regional statement that placed particular emphasis on the periodic assessment of health systems and measuring their performance in the GCC member states.
It is worth mentioning that the Riyadh Declaration includes many recommendations and guidelines that aim to promote, assess and measure health systems performance in such a manner that ensures improving and developing health services provided for citizens and residents in the GCC countries. Such recommendations include carrying out comprehensive and accurate reviews of all components of health systems to stand on their strengths and weaknesses as well as the challenges and opportunities to achieve the goal of comprehensive and integrated health coverage.
The recommendations call also for carrying out a periodic evaluation for health systems in the GCC countries through using the adopted methods of assessment, including structure, processes, and outcomes; that is to be added to adopting programs to evaluate health systems performance at the level of healthcare providers, including primary healthcare centers and hospitals.
Moreover, the GCC health ministers suggested using the results of performance evaluation and measurement to reform and re-frame the health system, in addition to developing the skills of manpower in the field of measuring health systems performance and cooperating with international agencies and prestigious universities to increase the number of foreign scholarships and domestic training courses in the fields of health systems evaluation, health economies and policies, health research systems and continuous training of officials on various programs to develop their skills in the systematic measurement of evidence-based indicators.
In addition, the recommendation stressed the importance of teamwork while making interventions at the level of healthcare providers, patients and health systems to ensure achieving integration between measurement and surveillance in all phases of health system assessment.
Also, the GCC health ministers recommended placing particular emphasis on research and studies related to efforts to improve clinical quality, manage clinical risk, achieve integrated health services and measure beneficiaries' satisfaction with the health services; that is to be added to the continuous improvement of quality at healthcare facilities and the use of technologies there to improve the outcomes of health care.
Furthermore, they called for conducting more research to achieve integration between health services on one hand and quality and safety on the other hand, stressing the importance of involving performance indicators in the operational management systems (hospitals and health centers) and the overall strategy of health facilities.
Moreover, the GCC health ministers called for supporting health information systems in the GCC countries on a scientific basis to bolster the processes of measuring and evaluating evidence-based health systems performance; that is to be added to benefiting from results of health research, studies and surveys and translating them into health policies to support the decision-making process.
They also reiterated the importance of adopting and applying the concept (More Health for the Money), through using resources wisely, applying the concepts of quality and patient safety on a continuous basis, improving quality control, benefiting from medical and information technologies, motivating employees, improving the efficiency of hospital performance, whatever the health facility size or the hospitalization period, getting proper and high-quality healthcare on the first day of admission to the hospital, achieving patient safety, applying the concepts of governance and critical appraisal, improving the efficiency and performance of health systems and boosting positive strategic procurement.
Furthermore, the recommendations included bolstering the basic role played by primary healthcare centers in achieving justice and enabling all segments of the society to obtain basic health services; that it to be added to boosting communication among the GCC countries for the exchange and transfer of expertise, establishing houses of national experience in the fields of assessing health systems performance, raising the level of political awareness and taking concrete measures to improve the civil registration and vital statistics systems with the aim of enhancing accuracy and completing reports about causes of deaths based on the regional strategy for the improvement of civil registration and vital statistics systems 2014–2019.
The GCC health ministers recommended also preparing a national plan based on the aforementioned regional strategy, meanwhile providing a sound regulatory framework for it and improving coordination among the parties concerned through forming committees to that effect. In addition, they stressed the importance of continuing commitment to strategies aimed to strengthen health systems, which were approved by the regional committee, including the regional roadmap meant to accelerate the pace of progress towards achieving comprehensive health coverage and the relevant decisions.
Finally, the GCC health ministers called for placing particular emphasis on evidence-based indicators and arguments while setting up health and public health systems, as well as urging the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers Council to strengthen cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean and the different houses of experience to improve health systems performance as this will help provide technical support for the member states in the Gulf Cooperation Council and strengthen the capacity and expertise in the field of measuring and evaluating health systems performance.

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