GCC push to improve health services
Manama, January 11, 2013
Major changes are underway to improve health services across the Gulf with GCC health ministers yesterday announcing plans to increase patient safety, ensure more money is pumped into the sector and exchange expertise.
The declaration was made at the conclusion of the 74th GCC Health Ministers' Meeting at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa, a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper, said.
Bahrain also called for specialised medical and research centres to be set up across the Gulf. The first centre will focus on cancer treatment, said GCC Health Minister's Council executive office director-general Dr Tawfik Khoja.
"We welcome this suggestion by Bahrain, backed by its Prime Minister and Health Minister, to establish specialised centres in each GCC states," he said.
"There could be lots of these specialised centres which we could set up in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or neighbouring GCC states.
"They will focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health and other illness."
Dr Khoja said GCC health ministries would face increasing challenges in dealing with chronic and NCDs among citizens in future.
It led to the issuing of the Manama Declaration on Financing Health Systems at the two-day event, held under the theme 'Medical Funding'.
Dr Khoja described the meeting as "positive and fruitful," and said officials had discussed 28 key issues including the unification of pharmaceutical supplies, promoting medical ethics, new regulations for alternative medicine and improving the use of information technology to increase efficiency.
"With regards to expatriates living and working in GCC countries, we called for strict regulation for health centres to conduct pre-employment tests," he said.
"In addition, we discussed the need for stringent tobacco regulations in duty-free areas in GCC airports."
Dr Khoja was speaking during a Press conference at the hotel, attended by Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi, Under-Secretary Dr Aysha Mubarak Buaneq and assistant under-secretary for primary care and public health Dr Mariam Al Jalahma. - TradeArabia News Service
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