New health budget ‘will boost care for citizens’

Updated 05 February 2014

New health budget ‘will boost care for citizens’

Minister of Health Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said on Tuesday that the new budget allocation for the coming year would help the ministry improve services for citizens and residents throughout the Kingdom.
Al-Rabeeah thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, for the “generous allocations,” which include financing for two medical cities in Makkah and the Eastern Province.
“The Health Ministry will strive to use the budgetary allocations in the best possible manner, in line with the national project for integrated and comprehensive health care. It also wants to achieve the noble values of fairness, equality and universality in the distribution of health services, with ease of access in all parts of the Kingdom,” said Al-Rabeeah.
Al-Rabeeah said the ministry last year opened 15 new hospitals across the country, adding 3,450 more beds. The ministry plans to launch more hospitals and medical towers with 8,160 beds this year. It also plans to build special centers and health facilities for heart surgery and the treatment of tumors. It is currently building 93 primary health care centers and two medical city projects in the northern and southern regions, he said.
Ahmed Al-Biz, undersecretary at the ministry for engineering affairs, said the budget allocation would see a more even distribution of services in the country by taking into account the population in each area. He said the ministry has a strategic plan to have services on par with advanced countries in five years.
The 132 hospital projects currently underway would see the ministry create a total of 38,739 beds in the country, with the number going up to 72,525 beds in 2019. The ministry would also commission 24 hospitals this year, Al-Biz said.
The three medical city projects underway include King Faisal City to serve the people in the southern provinces, King Fahd City in Riyadh and Prince Muhammad City for the northern provinces. The ministry would soon launch King Abdullah Medical City in Makkah province, while preparations are underway to launch King Khaled Medical city in the Eastern Province, Al-Biz said.
He said the challenges faced by the health sector include the rising cost of services because of expensive equipment, the increasing cost of qualified personnel, and the growing population.
Sami Badawood, director of Jeddah Health Affairs, said the new health projects this coming fiscal year include the commissioning of the East Jeddah Hospital with 300 beds within four months, a maternity and children’s hospital in north Jeddah, a mental health hospital with 500 beds in Asfan north of the city, a medical tower project at the Specialist Ophthalmic Hospital, and a central blood bank in the Suleimaniya district.
New projects in the budget for next year include 200 dental clinics — 100 in north Jeddah and 100 in the south of the city. There would also be new centers for tuberculosis, x-ray therapy, nuclear medicine, and rehabilitation and physical therapy in north Jeddah.
A source at the ministry said 4,723 people were sent abroad for advanced treatment at a cost of more than SR1 billion in 2013. This includes 2,781 sent by the Higher Medical Board and others on the orders of the King. They received treatment in countries including the United States, Britain, Germany and China.

Huge expectations from Saudi crown prince’s Korea visit

Updated 26 June 2019

Huge expectations from Saudi crown prince’s Korea visit

  • The export of South Korea’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia is high on the agenda

SEOUL: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday to discuss wider economic ties between the two countries, according to the presidential office.
The crown prince’s visit to South Korea is the first by an heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter since then-Crown Prince Abdullah’s tour in 1998. The crown prince will also attend the G20 Summit next week in Osaka, Japan.
The two-day visit is expected to deliver key agreements with South Korea in a variety of industrial fields, including cooperation on nuclear reactor and defense technologies.
“Saudi Arabia, a key ally of South Korea, is the biggest oil supplier to our government and the largest economic partner among the Middle Eastern countries,” presidential spokeswoman Koh Min-jung told reporters.
“Both leaders are expected to discuss detailed measures to expand bilateral cooperation beyond the traditional areas of construction and energy to the sectors of information and technology, nuclear energy, green cars, health, public service and exchange of human resources.”
The crown prince and his economic advisers are scheduled to have luncheon with South Korean business leaders after his summit with President Moon, she said.
Business leaders attending the luncheon will include Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics; Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group; Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, and Koo Kwang-mo, chairman of LG Group.
A Samsung spokesman, who declined to be named, told Arab News that his company has a package of business proposals to present to Saudi Arabia.
“We’re not sure at the moment what business elements the Kingdom wants, but we have a variety of business packages that can meet the Saudi Vision 2030 requirements, ranging from engineering, procurement and construction to information and communications technology, and artificial intelligence,” the spokesman said.
Hyundai Motor Group was cautious about revealing potential business projects with Riyadh.
“We’ll see what’s happening. We have high expectations about potential business cooperation with Saudi Arabia,” a Hyundai Motor spokesman said, while asking not to be named.
The export of South Korea’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia is high on the agenda.
Team Korea, led by the Korea Electric Power Corp., was shortlisted last year for a nuclear power plant construction project in Saudi Arabia, along with the US, China, France and Russia. The project by the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy is aimed at building two nuclear power plants by 2030.


• Different South Korean companies are reportedly keen to invest in Saudi Arabia and become part of Vision 2030’s success.

• The Saudi leader is also expected to attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Saudi-owned S-Oil’s residue upgrading facility.

• Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will also attend the G20 Summit next week in Osaka, Japan.

With Riyadh reportedly leaning toward the US bidder, Team Korea is considering forming a strategic consortium with the US side, according to government sources.
“The possibility of the Korea-US consortium for the Saudi project is a feasible option,” said Huh Min-ho, a researcher of Shinhan Invest Corp., referring to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of the technical design of South Korea’s APR-1400 reactors.
“For South Korea, joining hands with the US is a feasible option to win the Saudi nuclear reactor contract, though the total order amount would be reduced,” the analyst said. “Once the Saudi project is won, more orders are expected to come from other countries such as the UK, the Czech Republic and Poland.”
South Korea already has a nuclear power footprint in in the Middle East after its construction of the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE. The country recently won a five-year maintenance deal for the nuclear plant with Nawah Energy Co., the operator of the plant.
The Saudi crown prince is also interested in South Korea’s weapons development technology, according to defense sources, and is scheduled to visit the Agency for Defense Development, South Korea’s only weapons developing agency, during his stay.
“We heard the crown prince is interested in the transfer of weapons technology when his country imports foreign weapons systems,” a Defense Ministry official told Arab News.
The Saudi leader is also expected to attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Saudi-owned S-Oil’s residue upgrading facility. S-Oil, which is wholly owned by state-run Saudi Aramco, is third-largest oil refiner in South Korea.