Trump congratulates Saudi crown prince on ‘spectacular job’ during G20 talks

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with US President Donald Trump on Saturday. (SPA)
Updated 30 June 2019

Trump congratulates Saudi crown prince on ‘spectacular job’ during G20 talks

  • Trump praised the Saudi crown prince for his reforms, especially efforts to empower women in the Kingdom
  • Riyadh summit ‘will reinforce G20’s work,’ says crown prince

OSAKA, Japan:  US President Donald Trump on Saturday saluted Saudi Arabia’s fight against global terrorism, and the reform program being driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, particularly the empowerment of women.

Trump, referring to the crown prince as a friend, talked of the opening up of Saudi Arabia, “especially what you have done for women,” he told Prince Mohammed.

The Vision 2030 plan was “like a revolution in a very positive way,” the president said at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.  “You’ve done, really, a spectacular job,” Trump told the crown prince.

Trump also highlighted the significant business dealings between the two countries and the impact on US jobs. “At least a million jobs are created by purchases made by Saudi Arabia,” he said. 

“We have had meetings on trade and economic development and on the military, of course, and the meetings have been really terrific.” 

“One thing that you are doing, which is almost at the top of the list and probably is at the top of the list is your fight on terror,” Trump said, addressing the Kingdom’s efforts to combat the evils of terrorism and extremism.

Trump praised the crown prince’s reform efforts. (Reuters)

The remarks were made ahead of a closed-door meeting between Trump, the crown prince and prominent ministers and advisers from both countries. 

The summit of world leaders closed with a pledge by Prince Mohammed to continue the G20’s work toward global unity at the Riyadh summit next year.

“The need to enhance international cooperation and coordination is more pressing than ever before, considering the complex and interrelated challenges facing our world today,” he said. 

He said empowering women and youth remained two key pillars to achieving sustainable growth, and encouraging entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Achieving international co-operation “depends on the ability to strengthen international consensus by establishing the principle of expanded dialogue, and building on the international system based on common principles and interests.

“Enhancing confidence in the multilateral trading system depends fundamentally on reforming the Word Trade Organization (WTO) and working under its umbrella,” he said. Reform of the WTO has been one of the main elements of calls by Trump for a new infrastructure for global trade, a big arguing point in Osaka.

Prince Mohammed called for adequate funding to implement the UN’s sustainable development goals, and urgent cooperation with low income countries in areas such as food security, infrastructure, access to energy and water sources, and investment in human capital. 

These issues, he said, would be the focus of attention during the Kingdom’s G20 presidency.

The crown prince said the world lived in an era of unprecedented technological and scientific innovations with unlimited growth prospects, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence” and the “internet of things” could provide the world with an abundance of benefits, if utilized optimally.

“We are trying to do the best for our country,” and we need to do more, he added. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan said he would work in support of the Saudi preparation plans for next year until he formally hands over the presidency to Saudi Arabia in November. 

“I truly hope that strong leadership can be exercised by Saudi Arabia, using the Osaka leaders’ declaration as the platform. I pray for the strong success of the Riyadh summit,” he said in response to a question from Arab News.

Saudi Arabia delivers ‘early warning’ on preterm births

Updated 21 November 2019

Saudi Arabia delivers ‘early warning’ on preterm births

  • Cost of care, long-term health issues a challenge for hospitals, says expert

JEDDAH: Up to 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year in Saudi Arabia with hospitals in the Kingdom spending up to SR60,000 ($16,000) on individual treatment and specialized care, a leading pediatrician told Arab News.

Dr. Sawsan Hussein Daffa, consultant neonatologist and head of pediatrics department at the Aya Specialist Hospital, said that the Saudi Ministry of Health is working to ensure premature infants get the best medical help possible, in addition to assisting families, despite the high cost.

“Premature births can cost hospitals and insurance companies as much as SR100,000 ($26,667),” she said. “Services provided to care for premature babies can cost hospitals SR50,000-60,000 during the infant’s stay.”

Daffa was speaking after World Prematurity Day on Nov. 17.

Any child born before 36 weeks of the gestational age is called premature.

“The particularly small babies are placed in incubators for a period of time ranging from 30 to 60 days. This can cost government hospitals/insurance companies around SR60,000. Some others are placed there for longer periods and can even cost SR100,000,” she said.

However, the consultant said that up to 28 percent of premature babies die due to complications.

The Saudi Health Ministry’s website said that some preterm births are likely to have more health problems than babies born on time. “These may face long-term health problems affecting the brain, lungs, hearing or vision.”

“One of the most life-threatening problems is respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), which can cause babies to need extra oxygen and help with breathing. RDS occurs when there is not enough surfactant in the lungs. This substance, made by the lungs, keeps the airways open and helps babies breathe,” she said.

Daffa said that a baby with RDS is usually kept on a respiratory machine and receives surfactant.

“Premature babies are put in incubators until they are 1.8 to 2kg. This normally needs a month or two. Sometimes, they are placed there for three months depending on the weight of the premature child when they were born. The less they weigh, the more time they need to spend in the incubator,” she said.

Daffa said that World Prematurity Day was first celebrated 11 years ago in Italy when the families of premature infants gathered. “It has been celebrated yearly since then,” she said.

“It is an occasion during which physicians work on promoting awareness among families, especially pregnant women, to prevent preterm births. It is also a chance to spread awareness as to how to help premature babies avoid diseases.”

The consultant said that a premature baby grows differently from a full-term baby in their early years.

“These babies may start walking later than their peers. Sometimes complications can affect their brains and thus, they join school late, too,” she said. But she said that by the age of 10 their development was similar to that of other children.

The neonatologist advised parents of premature children to attend events to help their children avoid complications.

“Pregnant mothers should follow up with their doctors to detect problems early and find solutions. They should also follow a diet rich in proteins, folic acid and minerals,” she added. 

Daffa said a special vaccine given to premature babies could protect them against the respiratory syncytial virus, which normally hits premature infants from October to March.

According to a 2018 report by the World Health Organization, more than 60 percent of preterm births occur in Africa and South Asia, but preterm birth is a global problem. In lower-income countries, on average 12 percent of babies are born too early compared with 9 percent in higher-income countries, the report said.

Within countries, poorer families are at higher risk, it added.