Commercial pharmacies open door to female staff

Updated 04 February 2013
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Commercial pharmacies open door to female staff

Female workers will be soon employed at commercial pharmacies. According to Minister of Labor Adel Fakeih, the ministry is working on providing a safe work environment for women.
He said the ministry is working on reducing women unemployment and that its programs has led to doubling the number of those employed during the last three decades. Women already work in hospital pharmacies.
Zaini Banjar, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz University, said the employment of women at commercial pharmacies would benefit his faculty’s graduates and Saudi society by reducing unemployment among women. The market desperately needs pharmacists of both genders, he added.
Banjar said there is a significant shortage of pharmacists in the Kingdom. The ministry’s move indicates the market would accommodate all graduates.
Pharmacies would compete to attract graduates after the final decision is issued. Banjar said implementing laws would regulate the work of pharmacists in commercial hospitals and health care centers’ pharmacies. He said salaries paid to pharmacists at commercial pharmacies should not be lower than the salaries paid in hospitals. He stressed the importance of providing incentives to pharmacists. Banjar called for improving the performance of pharmacies, saying that a pharmacist should not merely be a salesman, but a specialist who pays attention to the patient. “Pharmacies must play a large role in terms of medication-use awareness and education,” he said.
He said the faculty at King Abdul Aziz University has established two pharmacies for the training undergraduates “for them to be properly qualified to handle pharmacies after they graduate.”
Ruba Hijazi and Reem Ghandour, both pharmacy college students, said they would not work in a commercial pharmacy because the salaries are low.
They said that “many of them are merely places that sell medicine. They said they would work in pharmacies in private or public hospitals, although they supported the decision.
An oxygen pharmacy official in Jeddah’s Rawdah District told Arab News the pharmacy will provide all work environment requirements stipulated in the decision when it is issued. He said the pharmacy will attract and employ female pharmacy graduates.
On Twitter, most tweets agreed with the move, but hoped that a final decision is studied considering all aspects involved. Several hoped a recommendation will not be rejected by Saudi society.


Israel quiet on US claims it hit Iraq militia in Syria

Updated 1 min 53 sec ago
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Israel quiet on US claims it hit Iraq militia in Syria

JERUSALEM: Israel declined to comment on Tuesday on a weekend air strike against an Iraqi paramilitary base in eastern Syria after its US ally implicated it in the attack.
The Sunday evening strike against the Al-Hari base on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq came less than 24 hours after Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would strike Iran’s “proxies” anywhere in Syria.
Fighters of Iraq’s Hashed Al-Shaabi paramilitary force, mainly composed of Iran-trained Shiite militia, have played a major role in the war against the Sunni extremists of the Daesh group in Syria as well as Iraq.
But their presence has sparked confrontations with both Washington, which has been supporting a Kurdish-led alliance that controls other parts of eastern Syria, and Israel, which fears Iranian-inspired attacks on its forces in the occupied Golan Heights.
Syrian authorities and the Iraqi paramilitaries both blamed Washington for the strike, which killed at least 52 fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
But US officials denied any involvement and instead pointed the finger at Israel.
“We have reasons to believe that it was an Israeli strike,” one US official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The Israeli military declined to be drawn on the US claims. “We are not commenting on foreign reports,” a spokeswoman said.
The military has carried out previous strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, but most have been significantly closer to Israel or the Israeli-occupied Golan.
Last month, Israel launched a large-scale attack on what it said were Iranian targets in Syria, raising fears of a major confrontation.
Those strikes followed a barrage of rockets that Israel said was fired toward its forces in the occupied Golan by Iran from Syria.
Even before that, Israel had been blamed for a series of recent strikes inside Syria that killed Iranians, though it has not acknowledged them.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday morning, Netanyahu reiterated his position that “Iran needs to withdraw from all of Syria.”
“We will take action — and are already taking action — against efforts to establish a military presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria both close to the border and deep inside Syria,” the prime minister said.
“We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria.”
Israeli seized a large swathe of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
Iran has been a close ally of the Syrian regime for some four decades and, with Russia, has been a key supporter in the civil war that broke out in 2011.