Saudi Arabia observes World Polio Day

Updated 25 October 2014

Saudi Arabia observes World Polio Day

The Kingdom, one of the first countries in the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region to eradicate polio completely, observed the World Polio Day on Friday to create awareness about the hazards of the crippling disease.
According to an official from the National Center for Media and Health Awareness of the Ministry of Health, the Kingdom has minimized the incidence of polio by 99 percent. Its routine immunization against polio has been mandatory since 1979.
The last virologically confirmed polio case due to an indigenous virus was reported in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 28, 1995. National immunization days were held regularly from 1995 to 2000, in coordination with other member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In addition, supplementary national immunization days have been observed since 2001, essentially covering areas visited by Haj pilgrims and Umrah visitors.
National reporting started in Saudi Arabia in 1989 and shifted to virological classification in 1996. Saudi Arabia has achieved and maintained certification standard levels since 1994.
The Saudi Arabia National Poliovirus Laboratory is a WHO-accredited laboratory of the Eastern Mediterranean Region’s poliovirus laboratories network.
The WHO Representative’s Office in Saudi Arabia supports the government and health authorities at the central and local level in strengthening health services, addressing public health issues and supporting and promoting health research.
Physicians, public health specialists, scientists, social scientists and epidemiologists provide appropriate technical support and collaboration on the request of national authorities. WHO staff in Saudi Arabia include experts in the fields of health.
As the lead health agency, WHO works with many partners to support countries in reaching their national health development goals. In Saudi Arabia these include United Nations agencies, humanitarian and development partners, donors, nongovernmental organizations, WHO collaborating centers and the private sector.
According to a World Health Organization report, the number of polio cases in the world dropped by 99 percent since 1988 from 350,000 cases to 406 in 2013. In 1988, polio was endemic in 125 countries and the number was further reduced to three countries including Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan in 2013.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It is caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.
Most people who get infected with poliovirus (about 72 out of 100) will not have any visible symptoms. About 1 out of 4 people with poliovirus infection will have flu-like symptoms that may include, sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache and stomachache.
Paralysis is the most severe symptom associated with polio because it can lead to permanent disability and death. Between 2 and 10 out of 100 people who have paralysis from poliovirus infection die because the virus affects the muscles that help them breathe.


350,000 books to feature at Jeddah fair

Updated 14 November 2019

350,000 books to feature at Jeddah fair

JEDDAH: Hundreds of authors from around the world are preparing to take part in a prestigious Saudi book festival.

The Jeddah International Book Fair, to be staged in South Obhur from Dec. 11 to 21, will feature more than 350,000 volumes to cater to all reading tastes.

Now in its fifth edition, the cultural event, run under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, will see the participation of 400 Saudi, Arab and international publishing houses from 40 different countries.

Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed, who is head of the fair’s supreme committee, has been coordinating the organization of the event which will include book-signing sessions by 200 authors.

The exhibition, occupying 30,000 square meters, is one of the biggest specialized expos in the Kingdom, and aims to promote reading and the cultural environment.

The fair will also include a program of seminars, lectures and indoor and outdoor theater productions, along with documentary films for families and children, and workshops in visual arts, photography and Arabic calligraphy.

The Jeddah fair is supported by Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, who believes it reflects the city’s culture and traditions, along with backing from Minister of Media Turki Al-Shabanah. SPA Jeddah