Mohammed Rasooldeen I Arab News
Monday 2 November 2009
Last Update 2 November 2009 12:00 am
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health (MoH) reiterated on Sunday that the government would provide free treatment, without any delay, to people suffering from swine flu.
“We have noticed that some public health facilities have been negligent in providing this service and we’ll hold inspection tours to make sure the service is provided without delay,” the ministry said.
The ministry has also allocated two telephone numbers (01-2124196 and 01-4028941) for people to contact to voice their complaints regarding negligent public and private health organizations.
The ministry is also to decide on Monday who is most eligible to get H1N1 vaccines first. “A panel appointed by the ministry will prioritize the people who should be treated with H1N1 vaccines,” Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khaled Al-Mirghalani told Arab News on Sunday.
He added that those who are susceptible to the flu would get shots in the first phase of the vaccination campaign.
“They include high risk patients such as pregnant mothers, children under five, and patients suffering from chronic pulmonary, heart, liver, kidney or HIV diseases,” he said. He added that the panel would decide the areas of operations as well as the recipients of the vaccines in order of preference.
He said that the ministry had received a small quantity of vaccines, which are being tested in laboratories. The results of the tests have not been disclosed.
“About 99 percent of all patients suffering from the H1N1 virus are cured within a short time after receiving treatment and being quarantined,” he said.
A panel under the chairmanship of Dr. Mansour N. Al-Hawasi, deputy minister of health for executive affairs, has intensified efforts to generate more awareness about H1N1 on a national level.
Regarding the ministry’s Haj preventive program, Al-Mirghalani said that swine flu vaccines are not mandatory for pilgrims, local and foreign. He however said that it is good for pilgrims to have the dose if they are available in their respective countries.
“They will be coming at their own risk if they do not take adequate precautions against the disease,” he said.
He also stressed that all pilgrims are guests of Allah and it is “our duty to look after them from the time they come.” Around 2.5 million Muslims from all over the world come for Haj every year.