Minister praises Saudi Arabia’s use of digital health technologies in virus fight

Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel. (SPA)
Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel. (SPA)
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Updated 22 November 2021

Minister praises Saudi Arabia’s use of digital health technologies in virus fight

Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel. (SPA)
  • New standards also reflect Saudi Arabia’s distinction in handling COVID-19 pandemic, says health minister

RIYADH: Saudi Health Minister and Chairman of the Saudi Health Council Fahad Al-Jalajel on Sunday said that adopting digital health technologies as new standards reflected the Kingdom’s leading role in international and regional forums.

It also embodied Saudi Arabia’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its optimal use of modern digital technologies, he said.
Digital technologies were one of the most important tools for dealing with the pandemic, he said, as the first interactive map of COVID-19 data was launched to provide accurate statistics and employ artificial intelligence to analyze data and take national strategic decisions.
In his speech during the opening of the digital event HIMSS21 Middle East Health Conference, Al-Jalajel said: “HIMSS21 includes many goals, perhaps the most prominent of which is to discuss current challenges, visions and ideas about future plans and potential solutions in the field of healthcare, both regionally and internationally.
“Another significant goal is highlighting the importance of health information technology and its influential role in raising the efficiency of performance, improving the quality of services, as well as the optimal use of resources. Undoubtedly, the participation of elite scientists and specialists in this field will enrich this forum with ideas and experiences that reinforce the efforts made and support the work process in the field of technology.”

HIGHLIGHT

Digital technologies were one of the most important tools for dealing with the pandemic, as the first interactive map of COVID-19 data was launched to provide accurate statistics and employ artificial intelligence to analyze data and take national strategic decisions.

Al-Jalajel said that innovative plans were being implemented to develop the health system in the Kingdom, which included building a health transformation plan and designing programs for governing, financing and providing health services, in accordance with best international practices and in line with the National Transformation Program and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, where digital health was a pivotal partner for transformation in the health sector.
Secretary-General of the Saudi Health Council Dr. Nahar Al-Azmi said: “HIMSS21 aims to complete the council’s role in developing and approving a policy of coordination and integration between all the competent authorities, achieving a qualitative advancement of healthcare services, discussing the current challenges in the health field and proposing visions and ideas about future plans and potential solutions for the health sector at the regional and international levels.
“Knowledge, experiences and expertise will be exchanged in various sessions during the conference,” he said.
“There will also be global dialogues on the challenges facing health systems and the available solutions, as well as ways to harness digital health to build effective responses to future epidemics and benefit from data and technology to enhance population health management. This is key for this period during which we are witnessing many strategic transformations in the health sector, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, by adopting digital health technologies as new standards, and highlighting their effective role in improving the quality of healthcare.”


Program launched to tackle baboon menace in Saudi Arabia

Baboons are believed to be natives of the western region’s Sarawat Mountains, mostly in the southwestern areas from Taif to Asir and beyond. (Shutterstock)
Baboons are believed to be natives of the western region’s Sarawat Mountains, mostly in the southwestern areas from Taif to Asir and beyond. (Shutterstock)
Updated 3 min 53 sec ago

Program launched to tackle baboon menace in Saudi Arabia

Baboons are believed to be natives of the western region’s Sarawat Mountains, mostly in the southwestern areas from Taif to Asir and beyond. (Shutterstock)
  • According to the center, baboon troops are terrorizing children and parents and damaging agricultural crops

MAKKAH: The National Center for Wildlife has launched a program to assess the damage caused by increasing numbers of baboons in residential and agricultural sites and find appropriate solutions.

NCW is conducting studies to contain the increased number of baboons that are causing severe damage in some areas, particularly in tourist destinations. The center is putting in place integrated plans and awareness campaigns to address the problem of baboons, which threaten highway goers, residential neighborhoods, parks and agricultural terraces.

It said that a balanced presence of baboons in the environment was healthy. The center said that it is not looking to get rid of them at all, as it aims through its program to create an environmental and natural balance.

According to the center, baboon troops are terrorizing children and parents and damaging agricultural crops. Studies confirm that one of the reasons for the increase in their numbers is that passers-by feed them. This phenomenon also causes accumulated waste.

It called on the community to cooperate with the campaign by refraining from feeding the baboons, disposing of waste in their designated areas and not acquiring and raising baboons at home or adopting them in a non-natural environment.

“The monkeys are the number one enemy of all farmers in the region, especially for mango, cocoa, bananas, coffee, corn and fruit trees”, Yahya Masdaf, the owner of a farm in Baish province in southern Saudi Arabia, said.

He said that the number of monkeys is increasing, possibly due to the small number of predators. There are more than 5,000 baboon monkeys in the area.

Baboons attacked the whole of his farm in half an hour while he performed Friday prayers several weeks ago, resulting in damage to all crops without exception.

He explained that this phenomenon has become very harmful and dangerous to people, farms and the livelihood of farmers whose only source of income is crops.

Hamza Al-Ghamdi, spokesman for Rahmah Animal Welfare Association, said there are more than 400,000 baboons in the Kingdom. According to the association’s studies, 65 percent of these baboons do not approach residential areas.

He said that 35 percent of these baboons are accustomed to being fed by humans, which changed their behavior and made them bolder to break into farms on the outskirts of cities and provinces. Al-Ghamdi added that the number of baboons feeding naturally ranges from 10 to 150 per troop.

He called for the education of individuals not to provide food to monkeys and said anyone who feeds monkeys in streets, public places, and parks should be fined.

One possible solution was for farmers to acquire trained guard dogs and to erect a low-volt electric fence at the top of the normal fence to prevent monkeys from breaking into farms. This solution could keep monkeys away without having to kill them.


Thailand seeks to foster ties with Saudi Arabia during PM’s Riyadh visit

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. (REUTERS file photo)
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 15 sec ago

Thailand seeks to foster ties with Saudi Arabia during PM’s Riyadh visit

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. (REUTERS file photo)
  • Thai prime minister is scheduled to arrive in Riyadh for a two-day visit on Tuesday
  • He will be accompanied by the deputy prime minister, foreign minister, energy minister and labor minister

BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s trip to Saudi Arabia — Thailand’s first top leadership visit to the Kingdom in three decades — is expected to promote bilateral relations, the Thai government said on Monday.
The Thai prime minister is scheduled to arrive in Riyadh for a two-day visit on Tuesday, at the invitation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“The prime minister is scheduled to have an audience and discuss with the crown prince (ways) to strengthen and promote bilateral relations,” Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, spokesperson for the Thai government, said during a media briefing.
“This visit is the (first) government leader-level visit of the two countries … in more than 30 years.”
He added that on his Saudi Arabia trip, the prime minister will be accompanied by the deputy prime minister, foreign minister, energy minister and labor minister.
The Saudi foreign ministry said on Sunday the visit follows “consultations that resulted in convergence of views on various issues of common concern.”
Dr. Sarawut Aree, director of the Muslim Studies Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, told Arab News that normalization of bilateral ties would allow Thailand to again send workers to the Gulf state.
“Thailand definitely wants to normalize the diplomatic relation,” he said. “Thailand sent more than 200,000 laborers to Saudi Arabia each year when they had good relations, and now Saudi Arabia is driving Vision 2030 that focuses on economic (development) and infrastructure with less reliance on oil. So, Thailand can see the opportunity for laborers in Saudi Arabia.”
Aree added that the prime minister’s trip was “like a signal or a formal protocol that will make the improvement of the relationship more concrete.”


Saudi king receives letter from South Sudanese president

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his South Sudanese counterpart Mayiik Ayii Deng in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his South Sudanese counterpart Mayiik Ayii Deng in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 53 min 3 sec ago

Saudi king receives letter from South Sudanese president

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his South Sudanese counterpart Mayiik Ayii Deng in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The letter delat with ways to support and develop bilateral relations in all fields
  • Saudi and South Sudanese foreign ministers sign a framework agreement to develop ties

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received a written message from Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of South Sudan, regarding bilateral relations and ways to support and develop them in all fields, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
The message was received by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, during a meeting with his South Sudanese counterpart Mayiik Ayii Deng in the capital, Riyadh.
At the beginning of the meeting, Prince Faisal praised the support of the South Sudanese government for the Kingdom’s request to host the Expo 2030 in Riyadh, under the slogan “The era of change: moving our planet toward the future.”
During the meeting, the two sides signed a framework agreement between their governments to develop bilateral relations. 
They also discussed ways to strengthen and develop joint relations in various fields, in addition to exchanging views on regional and international issues of common interest.


KSrelief and UN officials discuss humanitarian efforts in Yemen and Syria

KSrelief and UN officials discuss humanitarian efforts in Yemen and Syria
Updated 24 January 2022

KSrelief and UN officials discuss humanitarian efforts in Yemen and Syria

KSrelief and UN officials discuss humanitarian efforts in Yemen and Syria

RIYADH: The General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, met with Khaled Al-Khiari, the UN assistant secretary-general for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, in Riyadh on Monday, Saudi Press Agency reported.
During the meeting, they discussed matters of common interest related to humanitarian and relief affairs, especially in Yemen, Syria and other Asian countries, and prospects for cooperation between the two sides.
Al-Khiari said that Saudi Arabia is one of the largest contributors in the field of humanitarian work, praising its generous support to the UN in several areas and the projects and programs carried out by KSrelief for needy people around the world.
He added that these efforts were important in supporting development work and other projects in the beneficiary countries. 
Meanwhile, Ahmed bin Ali Al-Baiz, assistant general supervisor for operations and programs at KSrelief, held talks with Philippe Duamelle, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Yemen, in the Saudi capital.
Al-Baiz reviewed the humanitarian and relief projects implemented by the center in cooperation with UNICEF to contribute to the care of children and women in Yemen and to provide them with various educational, health, nutritional and accommodation services.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed ways to enhance joint cooperation between them to serve the most vulnerable groups in Yemen and improve their living conditions, in light of the current humanitarian crisis.
Duamelle praised the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts and the important role it plays in partnership with UNICEF, stressing that this partnership has contributed to alleviating the suffering of many affected peoples around the world. 


Saudi Arabia extends residencies, exit-entry visas

Saudi Arabia extends residencies, exit-entry visas
Updated 24 January 2022

Saudi Arabia extends residencies, exit-entry visas

Saudi Arabia extends residencies, exit-entry visas
  • The extension, issued by the Minister of Finance, is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to address the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • It will be carried automatically in collaboration with the National Information Center, without the need to visit the passports directorate

The Saudi Passport authorities started automatically extending the validity of residency permits (Iqama) and exit and re-entry visas without charges until March 31, 2022, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The extension, issued by the Minister of Finance, is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to address the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will be carried automatically in collaboration with the National Information Center, without the need to visit the passports directorate or the Kingdom’s missions abroad.

The validity of residency and exit re-entry return visas will be extended for residents who are outside the Kingdom in countries from which travel was suspended due to a COVID-19 outbreak until March 31, except for those who have already received one dose of the vaccine inside the Kingdom before they departed.

The validity of visit visas will also be extended until March 31 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for visitors who are outside the Kingdom in countries from which entry has been suspended due to the virus.