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Corona virus: WHO gives thumbs up to Saudi efforts

Corona virus: WHO gives thumbs up to Saudi efforts
10 Jun

JEDDAH — e-Media

The World Health Organization on Monday appreciated the efforts exerted by the Kingdom’s health authorities in tackling the deadly corona virus. “For the last three weeks we did not document any new cases in hospitals,” Eiz Al-Deen Muhsini, permanent representative of World Health Organization in Saudi Arabia, said here.

Asked if there are any concerns regarding the Umrah and Haj seasons, Muhsini said: “We are not worried because the cases have dropped significantly. We are relying on the awareness in countries from where these pilgrims are coming, as well as the awareness here when they arrive.”

Muhsini, along with Acting Minister of Health Adel Fakeih, was speaking at the regional negotiation meeting for East Mediterranean Countries organized by the Saudi Central Board for Accreditation of Health Institutions (CBAHI) in cooperation with WHO.

Muhsini said the main problem is people not taking precautionary measures. The problem, he said, is a “behavior change” issue that needs time to take effect. This includes getting used to putting masks and gloves, for example, for hospital staff.

Muhsini said a number of teams from the Ministry of Health and WHO are visiting different hospitals in Saudi Arabia to increase awareness among hospital staff. The specialist stated that he did not anticipate that the disease to be announced as a epidemic since the condition is “way better now!”

He noted that a meeting will be held this month to discuss the disease with the Ministry of Health. He added, that there are a number of unanswered questions. “What we have are all assumptions.”

He noted that though the virus is available in camels in Sudan, Tunis and Spain, yet cases were documented in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. “We are conducting studies with ministries of health and agriculture.”

Acting Health Minister Fakeih said his ministry will be critically revising all corona virus cases and any development for the coming two years after investigations of medical files revealed 92 related deaths.

Fakeih said the ministry is still taking all measures though a remarkable drop has been seen in the number of corona virus cases.

Abdullah Al-Wahabi, general manager of CBAHI, said the Kingdom has 8,000 health establishments.

So far they have accredited 130 public and private hospitals. They are also working on providing the accreditation to 430 hospitals during the coming three years.

The Kingdom has 2,000 primary care units.  Al-Wahabi and his team visited 100 of which to provide the needed assessment.

“If we are to compare the health system in the Kingdom with the region we have a high score. However, if we are to compare it with the world we have further efforts ahead of us,” he said.

Al-Wahabi added that the private sector is more eager to implement quality measures, however no study is yet revealed to compare the private and public sector in this regard.

The implementation of CBAHI regulations will soon be linked to getting the license for operating any health facility in the Kingdom.

Dr. Sameen Siddiqi, director of WHO’s department of health system development, said that they “have been heavily engaged in providing technical assistance” to the Saudi Ministry of Health regarding corona virus.

Speaking about quality and safety in hospitals in the region he said, “all countries in the region are facing challenges, our studies show lack of care and safety in hospitals in the region,” said Siddiqi.

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