Saudi Arabia, Japan sign deal to boost cooperation in information and communication technology

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Sawaha and Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Masatoshi Ishida sign agreement to increase cooperation between the two countries. (SPA)
Updated 10 June 2019

Saudi Arabia, Japan sign deal to boost cooperation in information and communication technology

RIYADH: The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on Sunday. The agreement will increase cooperation between the two countries in the field of telecommunications and information technology.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Sawaha and the Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Masatoshi Ishida signed the agreement in the presence of a number of officials from both sides.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the G-20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Japan, in which Al-Sawaha is participating. The ministerial meeting is seen as preparation for the G-20 Summit in Japan later this month.

“The agreement focuses on several key areas of work, including the development of human capital, improving the quality of digital infrastructure, supporting the IT industry, and investing in innovation and emerging technologies,” Al-Sawaha explained.

He stressed that the development of human capital is the central pillar of a comprehensive development process. “This is why the ministry is keen to help young Saudis develop their skills,” he said.

Under the agreement, exchange visits, forums, conferences, workshops, and other activities will be organized between the two countries.

Regarding the ministerial meeting, Al-Sawaha said the meeting tackled policies related to the digital economy, and the need for effective solutions to the challenges facing the global digital economy, the digital security of products and services, and the free flow of data, to achieve sustainable development objectives.

He added that the meeting also discussed encouraging innovation and digital entrepreneurship, empowering emerging technologies via appropriate regulatory frameworks, and developing small and medium enterprises to generate comprehensive economic growth.

The G-20, which comprises the world’s most powerful economies, accounts for 80 percent of global trade, 90 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product, and 66 percent of the global population.

Its members are Saudi Arabia, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, China, the US, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Britain, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the EU.

250 Saudi doctors volunteer for scheme offering free medical consultations

Updated 2 min 17 sec ago

250 Saudi doctors volunteer for scheme offering free medical consultations

JEDDAH: At least 250 Saudi doctors and health practitioners have signed up to an ambitious community volunteer program offering free medical consultations to patients throughout the Kingdom.
The We Are All Sanad initiative, supervised by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, aims to recruit more than 2,000 medics to offer expert advice and raise awareness on key health issues.
Covering around 30 specialties, the scheme’s health volunteers, 45 percent of which have so far been women, are hoping to provide 250,000 consultations by the end of the year.
The project is being run in tandem with Saudi government efforts to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Head of the initiative, Dr. Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Hamali, said the volunteer advisers had already provided hundreds of free teleconsultations remotely through the Mawidy (meaning, my appointment) platform which had contributed toward achieving sustainable goals, such as improving community service, increasing access to health care, and raising health awareness.
The initiative, launched on March 1, has been designed to help overcome obstacles faced by patients in relation to access to health care.
“These challenges include geographic barriers, a lack of clarity in the appointments available to patients, the high costs of treatment in some private-sector facilities, and fear of disease exposure when visiting hospitals and clinics.
“We Are All Sanad provides services to everyone, however, priority has been given to beneficiaries of charities, especially under the unprecedented current conditions and the coronavirus pandemic, which threatens the health and safety of the world,” said Al-Hamali, adding that the program supported more than 15 associations.
The Mawidy app, available in Arabic, English, and sign language, offers telemedicine and appointment booking services, and users will soon be able to make home health care reservations as part of a raft of upcoming additional services.
Deputy head of the initiative, Dr. Sultan bin Faisal, praised the ministry for its support for health charity staff and beneficiaries through the provision of telemedicine consultations, educational lectures, and scientific seminars.
He said volunteers wishing to join the initiative could register through the Mawidy platform, provided they had a valid license from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, adding that the scheme offered a unique opportunity for health practitioners to exchange experiences.
Faisal pointed out that the team included 30 young volunteers who would receive skills development training through the Ibtikar program, which offered scientific and practical training courses.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom on Friday recorded 51 new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total to 2,151.
There were 3,159 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 226,486 people had now contracted the disease. There were 61,309 active cases, with 2,220 patients in a critical condition.
According to the Ministry of Health, 296 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, while 249 were reported in Al-Hofuf, and 209 in Jeddah. In addition, 1,930 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 163,026.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 2,179,448 tests for COVID-19.
As part of the Kingdom’s strategy to tackle the virus outbreak, several services and products have been rolled out throughout the country.
These have included Takkad (make sure) centers which have conducted more than 480,000 lab tests, 239 Tetamman clinics which have dealt with at least 265,000 patients, the provision of an extra 2,500 intensive care unit beds, the building of four field hospitals, the carrying out of at least 2.1 million lab tests, and the conducting of 3.7 million medical consultations through the ministry’s 937 service center.