Cancer patients increasing in Gulf countries: Report

Updated 18 October 2014
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Cancer patients increasing in Gulf countries: Report

The Gulf countries marks an alarming rise in the number of cancer patients, according to a recent report.
The number of cancer patients in the GCC countries stood at 119,288 cases during 1998-2009 and the number is on the rise, said Executive Director of the Gulf Center for Cancer Prevention, Dr. Ali Al-Zahrani
In his statement released prior to the GCC’s upcoming conference on “Burden of Cancer in the Gulf Region” to be held on Tuesday, Dr. Al-Zahrani said the conference aims to highlight health complications related to cancer that have stricken both developed and underdeveloped countries.
According to him, cancer is the second biggest cause of death in the world.
The GCC Ministers of Health and the Gulf Center for Cancer at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC) in Riyadh are organizing the International Medical Conference (IMC) under the aegis of the Acting Minister of Health Adel Fakeih to focus on the increasing numbers of cancer patients and their impact on the economy of the Gulf countries. The theme of the conference is “Bridging the Gaps” and will be held at the King Faisal Hall, Riyadh Intercontinental Hotel.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Tawfiq Khoujah, conference president, said one of the objectives of the event is to examine the impact of the growing incidence of cancer on the economy of GCC member countries and how early detection and screening of cancer patients for immediate treatment could be helpful in terms of saving the cost of treatment.
Dr. Koujah, who is also the Director-General of the Executive Office of the Council of Health Ministers in the GCC region, said that the high-profile event will review strategies for integrated treatment, and the role of those responsible for primary health care in the prevention and control of the non-communicable disease.
This will also enable public health awareness programs in the prevention and early detection of cancer through the development of research programs in the Gulf region and the establishment of a network for effective cooperation between oncologists, scientists and supporters of health care in the Gulf region.
According to Dr. Khouja, the biggest challenge in the treatment of cancer in the region is the need for a qualified and trained workforce to overcome the severe shortage of qualified medical personnel. They also need specialists in this field from the Gulf region as part of an integrated team (medical-nursing-diagnosis-therapeutic surgeons — radioactivity and rehabilitation).
He called for making optimal use of the resources not only to reduce costs, but also to facilitate the patient’s access to high quality health care on a continuing basis.
He added that the increased focus on health care has many benefits besides reducing the cost of treatment. Other advantages include better health care facilities for all members of the family.


The man who leads millions of chefs from his kitchen in Saudi Arabia

Thomas Gugler
Updated 25 June 2018
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The man who leads millions of chefs from his kitchen in Saudi Arabia

  • Gugler moved to Saudi Arabia in 2002 to join Saudi Arabian Airlines as their executive master chef. In 2009, he co-founded the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association.
  • Now, as president of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, he is tasked with the significant responsibility of leading more than 10 million members from across 110 countries.

DUBAI: As far as a career in food goes, Thomas Gugler seems to have done it all — from working with five-star hotels and gourmet restaurants to hospitals, airlines, mass catering and teaching in universities. 

Having worked in 13 different countries across the spectrum of the food and beverage industry, Gugler moved to Saudi Arabia in 2002 to join Saudi Arabian Airlines as their executive master chef. In 2009, he co-founded the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association.

“I knew I wanted to become a chef since I was two,” Gugler told Arab News. “My mother and grandmother were both fantastic cooks and that’s how I fell in love with this profession.”

He’s come a long way since he was two in his 35-year-long career, 17 of which he has spent in Saudi Arabia.

Now, as president of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, he is tasked with the significant responsibility of leading more than 10 million members from across 110 countries.

“We organize worldwide cooking competitions and educational programs, as well as look into issues such as sustainability and cultural cooking. Our role is to build bridges between the commercial part and the consumers.”

With the head of such a prestigious global organization being based in Saudi Arabia, the local industry should be poised for growth, but, according to Gugler, there is plenty of room for improvement.

“Generally, the cooking and food standards here are not the best but with time and effort all this will be developed more and more,” he said.

Socio-political changes and the boost to the Saudi tourism sector will go a long way in developing the food and beverage industry, he believes.

“This will motivate and benefit the entire hospitality industry and raise the level, which is necessary. Stricter rules, regulations and food safety practices will encourage young and talented people in the industry to become better. It’s a golden opportunity,” Gugler said

His personal preference in food veers toward the local. “I like Arabic cuisine. The best kind is the cultural ethnic cuisine, the heritage of which can be traced back centuries. The local Hijazi cuisine is something no one should miss,” he said.