National health center to be based in Riyadh

National health center to be based in Riyadh
Updated 06 May 2013

National health center to be based in Riyadh

National health center to be based in Riyadh

The proposed headquarters for the National Center for Prevention and Disease Control will be built in Riyadh, a senior official from the Ministry of Health announced yesterday.
Khalid Al-Mirghalani, the Health Ministry spokesman, said the center will be adjacent to the ministry’s national laboratory to allow it to benefit from its facilities and services.
Last week, the Council of Ministers gave the green light for the establishment of the center which is expected to function along the lines of the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The CDC is the United States’ health protection agency, ensuring the country is protected from health and safety threats, both foreign and domestic.
Al-Mirghalani said the Saudi center would function on an independent budget and would be composed of a scientific committee comprising representatives from various ministries in the Kingdom.
The terms of reference and the composition of the center will be chalked out with the help of the committee, whose members would hail from the Directorate General of Medical Services at the Ministry of Defense, the General Directorate of Medical Services at the Ministry of Interior and the National Guard Health Affairs, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Health Services Council, and a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Higher Education (from a public university), the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, and private sector representatives nominated by the Council of Saudi Chambers.
Al-Mirghalani added that the National Center for Vector Borne Diseases in Jazan will be linked to the new center in Riyadh.
The ministry established the Jazan center in 2011. It has undertaken six scientific researches on vector borne diseases in the region. This center will also function under the umbrella of the new national center, he said.
The spokesman explained that committee would draw up a plan consisting of policies and strategies for the prevention and control infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases. This committee would outline the Kingdom’s programs in the vaccination program to combat various diseases that could be prevented in the country.
He said the proposed center would curb the spread of infectious and non-communicable diseases within the country. He said that the ministry has been making great efforts to develop health services and raise the level of performance in health facilities to offer the best health care services to the patients according to the vision of the country’s leadership.
The center would conduct research on diseases that are endemic to Saudi Arabia and would also carry out scientific experiments to prevent and control both infectious and non-communicable diseases in the Kingdom. “While maintaining a data base of the diseases in the Kingdom, the center would also plan out a national strategy to fight against various diseases and spell out awareness program to prevent the diseases at the local level,” the spokesman said.
In addition, the center is also expected to monitor the possible break out of epidemics and advise the nation on the suitable steps for early prevention.
He also pointed out that the Kingdom’s major concern is the diseases that are imported into the Kingdom through pilgrims during Haj and Umrah seasons.
Prior to the commencement of the Umrah and Haj seasons, the foreign ministry, on the advice of the ministry of health, sends out circulars to all its embassies abroad indicating the quarantine requirements for the respective countries for the issuance of the pilgrims’ visa.
Last year, the Kingdom focused on diseases such as yellow fever, meningitis, seasonal influenza, polio and food poisoning. Stipulated vaccines should be given 10 days before the date of departure to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. The ships and flights carrying pilgrims have been advised to produce a certificate that the carriers are free of mosquitoes.