Saudi Arabia, Finland to cooperate in health sector, says Finnish minister

The main themes of the visit have been health technology and digital services. (Supplied)
Updated 16 September 2018

Saudi Arabia, Finland to cooperate in health sector, says Finnish minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Finland have agreed to boost cooperation in the health sector by enhancing knowledge sharing, capacity building, introducing new health technology and digital services. “The plan is to boost cooperation as Finland stands at the forefront in health technology, health science, research and expertise,” Pirkko Mattila, Finnish minister of social affairs and health, told Arab News in an interview on Friday.
Mattila, who is leading a delegation of top Finnish health institutions and companies, said: “The main themes of the visit have been health technology and digital services, notably concerning elderly care, as well as special education related to health and supporting families.” She held talks with Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, health minister, and Tamader bint Yousef Al-Rammah, deputy minister of labor and social development, during her stay in Riyadh.
Also present during the interview were Antti Rytovuori, Finnish ambassador; Andre Heikius, chairman of the board of the nutrition and lifestyle company Edevent; Meria Heikela, director of Business Finland; Tomi Korhonen, director of marketing and communications of Business Finland; Dr. Kari Synberg, special adviser to the minister; Essi Raitala, deputy head of mission at the Embassy of Finland; and Miia Lahti, desk officer for Saudi Arabia at Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Referring to her wide-ranging talks with Saudi officials, Mattila said: “Finland has a lot to offer in digital infrastructure and cost-efficient health care and well-being solutions. I am very happy that our countries share this common interest in bringing new solutions for global health challenges. Many of our problems are common, like diabetes and cancer,” she added, while referring to an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed by the two companies during her trip.
Spelling out the salient features of the MoU, she pointed out that Finland’s Commit Company, which provides a comprehensive IT solution for breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, bowel cancer, and retinopathy, has signed an MoU with a Saudi company on the sidelines of the ministerial visit. In terms of bilateral cooperation, she said that she has invited the deputy minister of labor and social development to visit Finland.
She said she was happy about her visits to several Saudi facilities including the Riyadh-based King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center, and King Fahad Medical City. The talks among top Saudi and Finnish officials, as well as exchange of visits, are being organized within the framework of a comprehensive MoU signed by the Kingdom and Finland in August last year.
Asked about the patients going to Finland from Saudi Arabia for treatment, Mattila said that Finland has received some cancer patients from the Gulf countries. “There was some sort of collaboration with the Kingdom’s King Fahd Hospital,” said the minister, adding that she will also travel to the UAE, where she will look for further collaborations.

Saudi Arabia jumps 5 places in UN's World Happiness Report

Updated 19 min 34 sec ago

Saudi Arabia jumps 5 places in UN's World Happiness Report

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has jumped up the rankings of the world's happiest countries, according to a new UN report.

The Kingdom is now 28th out of the 156 countries included in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network's 2019 World Happiness Report, which was published on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia climbed five places compared to 2018 and is now the third happiest country in the Middle East and Africa, with just Israel and the UAE in front.

Finland topped the rankings for the second year in a row, with other Nordic countries taking the leading spots along with the Netherlands and Switzerland. The United States was ranked in 19th place.

South Sudan came last with Yemen and Syria the Arab countries making up the bottom 10.

The list ranks countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

*With Reuters

The top countries:

1. Finland

2. Denmark

3. Norway 

4. Iceland

5. Netherlands

6. Switzerland

7. Sweden

8. New Zealand

9. Canada

10. Austria


21. UAE


28. Saudi Arabia 

Bottom countries

147. Haiti 

148. Botswana

149. Syria

150. Malawi

151. Yemen 

152. Rwanda

153. Tanzania 

154. Afghanistan 

155. Central African Republic

156. South Sudan