Doctors hail KSA’s medical surgeons as among best in world

Saudi Arabia’s medical surgeons have been hailed as the best in the region and on a par with their counterparts in the West, say experts at the ICRM 2020 conference in Riyadh. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 14 February 2020

Doctors hail KSA’s medical surgeons as among best in world

  • Doctors are attending the sixth International Conference on Radiation Medicine (ICRM 2020), in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s medical surgeons have been hailed as the best in the region and on a par with their counterparts in the West.
Doctors attending the sixth International Conference on Radiation Medicine (ICRM 2020), in Riyadh, also predicted that the Kingdom had a thriving future in implementing the latest technologies in its health care system.
“I think the Saudi medical surgeons are the best in the region. They are highly accomplished and dedicated doctors who are very comparable to the West,” said Dr. Adnan Sheikh, an associate professor of radiology at the University of Ottawa.
Sheikh, a delegate at the conference for the second year in Saudi Arabia, added that many Saudi medical students had asked him if they could be trained in Canada. “We would be happy to open new agreements with Saudi Arabia in the field.”
Touching on 3-D printing in medicine, Sheikh noted that the technology was used for educational purposes and that it helped in reducing costs of care in the operating room as well as surgery time.
“Although 3-D printing is expensive as a technology, it is becoming cheaper. It is evolving a lot where it is mostly used, extensively now for child heart disease across the world,” he said.
Sheikh pointed out that China and the US were leading the way in applying 3-D printing in their health care sectors.
Ahmed Nobah, chairperson of the 3-D printing and visualization track at the ICRM 2020, said: “3-D printing was introduced for the first time as a scientific track during the 2017 Radiation in Medicine Symposium and Workshops organized by KFSHRC (King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, in Riyadh).”
“This year, virtual reality (VR) technology was introduced for the first time as another important advanced 3-D visualization tool in medicine,” added Nobah, a medical physicist in the radiation oncology physics department at KFSHRC.
“VR can be used to provide surgeons with clear visualization for the case before the operation. It can also be used as an educational tool for medical residents to learn anatomy and visualize medical images in 3-D space different than conventional medical visualization monitors.”
He pointed out that implementing 3-D printing in hospitals moved the health sector “closer to the new era of personalized medicine, in which the printed tools are customized/designed per patient according to his/her specific requirements.”
Nobah anticipated a thriving future for Saudi Arabia in implementing the latest technologies in its health care system.
“A new initiative (by KFSHRC) called Young Investigator is to be announced, through which young investigators will work on clinically oriented projects and be part of the technological development in the field of medicine,” he added.
The ICRM is the largest conference in the Middle East on radiation medicine and has been organized by the KFSHRC in collaboration with Alfaisal University, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Saudi Society of Medical Radiologic Technology, in partnership with other institutions in Riyadh.


Turning a new leaf: Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region ditches qat crops for coffee trees

The growth of the educational landscape in the region, in addition to the success of the coffee industry, are some factors that help the authorities combat qat abuse. (SPA/Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2020

Turning a new leaf: Saudi Arabia’s Jazan region ditches qat crops for coffee trees

  • The Khawlani coffee bean is being offered to UNESCO for inclusion on a heritage list

JAZAN: Efforts to draw the younger generation in the Kingdom’s Jazan region away from the harmful and addictive substance qat are succeeding, with even the crop being replaced by coffee trees to support the booming coffee business.
Qat, a plant that is native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, is a stimulant that triggers excitement and alertness. But it can also cause anxiety, insomnia and aggravate pre-existing mental health conditions.
It grew in the Jazan region along with coffee trees. But the strength of the coffee industry, combined with an increased awareness about the harmful nature of qat, has led to its gradual disappearance.
The governor of Al-Dayer, Nayef bin Lebdah, said the people of Jazan were proud of the Khawlani coffee bean. He also said that coffee beans were much more economically beneficial than qat.
“All newly planted qat trees have been completely uprooted,” he told Arab News. “All the people have found that planting coffee beans is much more feasible and rewarding than qat. Attempts to smuggle qat have also dropped thanks to the security efforts along the border with Yemen. Add to that, young people themselves have concluded that their future will be in coffee beans.”
Teacher Yahiya Shareef Al-Maliki viewed qat as an “intruder’’ and said the coffee tree was the region’s indigenous product.
“In 1970, there were only four people who used to chew qat in the entire governorate,” he told Arab News. “It then started to become common among the people here in 1995 due to opening the borders that caused importing qat from abroad.”

FASTFACTS

• In 2014, people reconsidered coffee as an alternative crop and young people started to grow coffee beans with the help of unlimited support from the governorate.

• Some 50,000 seedlings were distributed and farmers began to restore the profession of their fathers.

• The governorate replanted more than 10,000 genuine Khawlani coffee seedlings and gave them to the farmers.

The increase in qat cultivation affected the planting of coffee beans, he added, but in 2014 people reconsidered coffee as an alternative crop and young people started to grow coffee beans with the help of unlimited support from the governorate. “Some 50,000 seedlings were distributed and farmers began to restore the profession of their fathers.”
People in Jazan used to waste their time and money on qat, he said. They would gather and chew qat for many hours, he added, hours that could have been spent working. But the growth of the educational landscape in the region, in addition to the success of the coffee industry, was a factor in combating qat abuse, as young people were able to access more opportunities and improve their prospects.
The Khawlani coffee bean is being offered to UNESCO for inclusion on a heritage list.
“The preparation of the file related to the skills and knowledge pertaining to the cultivation of Khawlani coffee in the Jazan region has been completed before presenting it to UNESCO,” the Kingdom’s Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah said. If listed, he added, it would be the Kingdom’s fourth intangible cultural heritage and eighth among the total heritage items included in the UNESCO heritage list.
Saudi columnist Hamood Abu Talib said the Jazan region was the only place the beans were grown. “This festival (Coffee Beans Festival), which is being held in collaboration with the governorate (of Jazan), the farmers themselves and Aramco, is an important national economic investment,” he told Arab News.
“Many countries’ economies, such as Brazil and Ethiopia depend mainly on this product — coffee. It needs professional marketing through the media to attract visitors from inside and outside the Kingdom. This is an essential strategic transformation.
“We know that the Faifa Mountains Development and Reconstruction Authority’s strategic goal was to uproot the harmful trees of qat and replace them with profitable crops that are beneficial to the farmers as well as the whole region. These were also intruding, invasive trees. We replanted more than 10,000 genuine Khawlani coffee seedlings and gave them to the farmers.”