MOH News
78th Conference of the GCC Health Ministers Council Comes to End
05 February 2015
Today in Riyadh, the 78th Conference of the Gulf GCC Health Ministers Council drew to a close. The conference came up with a number of recommendations; the most prominent of which are approving the Updated Gulf Plan 2014-2025 on preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and urging the member states to develop a national executive plan based upon the Unified Gulf Plan for Prevention and Control of NCDs 2014-2025.
 
Still, the recommendations included approving the Updated Strategic Gulf Plan for Tobacco Control 2015-2030, calling on the states pass the protocol eliminating the illegal trade of tobacco-related products. Further, the recommendations involved accrediting the mechanism and action plan made by the Gulf Committee on the Vocational Health and Safety for applying the vocational and environmental health standards regarding the accrediting of hospitals and other healthcare facilities and the media plan on familiarizing with the standards, and the extent of the GCC states benefitting from the mass media. The recommendations called for making presentations on the vocational and environmental health standards at all seminars, workshops and scientific forums conducted at all levels.
 
Similarly, the recommendations included approving the indicators of monitoring the health situation and health trends, and the health systems’ performance which the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office formulated, and adopted it and applied it as a methodology for the stage. The recommendations called on the member states to embark on taking the executive steps meant for putting these indicators into force in 2015, together with the importance of enhancing and activating the health information systems for obtaining and recording information, inferring results to improve the health system’s performance and drawing on the successful gulf experiments. Also, the conference recommended that each state of the GCC member states take the necessary procedures to prepare or boost up the national plan on improving the national health information systems, and establishing its national health observatory in collaboration with the Eastern Mediterranean regional office. This in turn puts the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Committee’s decision into effect. Still, these basic health indicators should be linked to each state’s national health strategy, and the progress made in applying them is measured.
 
Likewise, the recommendations put forth re-considering the issue of e-linking between the GCC’s information centers and the Executive Board, and enhancing the health information systems once again. This is meant to ensure the extent of   the systems used in the GCC states compatibility, and to pinpoint the actual needs in term of programs, devices, linking mechanism and information required.  The issue is to be submitted to the GCC in May, 2015. 
 
By the same token, the conference recommended that the member states notify the Executive Board with the requirements of the coding system to be applied, and the health file data of the smart card, according to the letter enclosed the GCC General Secretariat as soon as possible. Also, the recommendations called for holding a meeting between the GCC General Secretariat and the representatives of the GCC states’ health ministries and the Executive Board; in order to envisage the actual procedures for applying the health file to the smart card. Further, the recommendations involved calling on the member states to notify the Executive Board with the requirements of the coding system to be used, and the health file data of the smart card, according to the letter enclosed the GCC General Secretariat as soon as possible. Also, the recommendations called for holding a meeting between the GCC General Secretariat and the representatives of the GCC states’ health ministries and the Executive Board; in order to envisage the actual procedures for applying the health file to the smart card.
 
Similarly, the recommendations involved approving the basics of adjudication and awarding, the general requirements of tenders, basics of offer discharge and regulation of qualifying the medical supplies companies and their affiliations: mechanism of evaluating the companies’ products, mechanism of visiting factories and visit repot model of the medical supplies companies, according to the wording attached to the decision. The recommendations also involved approving all the rules, regulations and mechanisms by the virtue of which the unified procurement tenders are launched, as well as considering the possibility of preparing a new tender meant for the “traditional medical devices”   as part of the Gulf Unified Procurement Program.  
 
One of the recommendations, still, had to do with drug companies; it put forth that such companies should conduct the bioequivalence studies in the centers accredited by the Gulf Committee about the possibility of accrediting any center that has been accredited within five years by two of the following regulatory bodies: EMA&HeathCanada, TGA, MHRA, USFDA or WHO, and has it included in the accredited centers list. Also, the centers which have not been recorded in this list should visit the Executive Board and present an integrated file about the center with the aim of having it visited by a gulf delegation then having it accredited. Still, the Executive Board is to record any center that has been inspected in the accredited centers list, and is to notify the center with that. Further, the Executive Board is to apply this mechanism: “Bioequivalence Centers List” to the fresh pharmaceuticals presented for the central registration as of 1/6/2015. The pharmaceuticals which the bioequivalence studies have been conducted to them in these centers before the approval of accreditation mechanism are excluded. The summary of the bioequivalence studies which should be filled by the company presented the pharmaceutical for the central registration according to the attachment is to be approved. And, this is to be circulated to the drug companies. Still, the member states are to adhere to these standards respectively. The companies must present a pharmaceutical for each production line. It is presented when applying for the central registration. In each visit, no more than two production lines are visited.   
 
The recommendations also urge the member states to finish applying the unified technical file program eCTD, and finish signing the contracts with the company concerned: Extedo imperatively, and before the second half of 2015, and capitalizing on the contract concluded between Extedo and Sultanate of Oman. Also, the recommendations included approving of the gulf regulation of the ongoing vocational upgrading for the health practitioners in the GCC states be a reference one. And, the recommendations urged on the swiftness of finishing the preparing of the unified gulf regulation for granting licenses to the health practitioners in the GCC states, and keeping on developing the Guest Workers’ Program via the e-linking; to maintain the successes the Program made. In addition to this, the recommendations highlighted the environmental monitoring for early detecting any threat, and taking the preemptive, preventive procedures.  And, the recommendations stressed on continuing the high levels of coverage by the routine immunization in the GCC states, and searching for the low coverage areas or areas constituting danger of developing polio, and raising its coverage.    
  
The recommendations called on the GCC states to boost up the efforts of the Yemeni ministry of Health regarding mounting vaccination campaigns according to an updated plan involving the work mechanism. This is due to the deterioration of conditions and the outbreak of new cases in the region. Also, the recommendations urged the ministries of health in the member states to communicate with the bodies concerned and via the official channels to support the initiative of eradicating polio in the Islamic Conference Organization’s states, and to include the polio vaccination n the medical examination form. And, there should be an obligatory field for those coming to the GCC states for work or residence from the stricken countries according to the epidemiological bulletin issued by the WHO. 
 
 All the more, the recommendations called for adopting the Saudi Premiership’s resolution No 176, dated 3/3/2014, on the ban of advertising, and the procedures of holding back the harmful impacts of energy drinks. This resolution is to be submitted to the Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization in order to work on issuing a unified gulf resolution to that effect. In so doing, we carry out one of the important items of political declaration of the United Nations for combating the non-communicable diseases. Also, the recommendations included adopting the Kuwait’s initiative as a gulf initiative on limiting the intake of salt in line with the rates recommended by the WHO, and exchanging it with the GCC states for guiding. Further, the recommendations involved Bahrain presenting an inclusive paper on the project of substituting the saturated fat, and banning the use of hydrogenated oil. The paper also includes the economic impacts that could result from this decision before it is submitted to the General Secretariat.   
 
 
 
 



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