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King Saud University Vice Rector for Health Specializations Dr. AbdulrahKing Saud Universityman Al-Muammar met with a delegation from the World Health Organization (WHO) on First week of December to discuss venues of cooperation between both institutions.

The WHO delegation included Professor Wagdy Talaat, WHO adviser for human development, and Dr. Waleed Abu Bakr, WHO adviser for regional health, system development and services.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Sami A. Alnassar, head of the medical education department in KSU’s College of Medicine.

Dr. Al-Muammar praised the role of WHO as a source of reliable data, services and expertise, and for its eagerness to cooperate in support of health development. He said that cooperation between WHO and KSU aims to establish a mechanism to support and develop the organization’s programs and activities, using the academic skills in KSU, in an effort to protect Saudi society.

After its establishment by the United Nations on April 7, 1948, the World Health Organization established regional offices. The Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) is one of six WHO regional offices around the world. It serves nearly 583 million people in the region’s 22 nember states and the occupied Palestinian territory (West Bank and Gaza Strip).

Located in Cairo, Egypt, the EMRO has cooperated for a long time with Saudi authorities and with medical and educational institutions and universities to assist the Kingdom as it struggled against medical challenges. Since 2000, WHO assisted Saudi Arabia in coping with novel coronavirus infection, meningococcal disease and Rift Valley fever.

WHO’s technical cooperation with Saudi Arabia during the period 2006–2011 covered the following strategic directions:

Supporting the strengthening of national health systems including; capacity building at central and regional levels (e.g. hospital autonomy, regulation capacities and quality assurance) in the Ministry of Health; development of national health accounts; and health financial options, as well as building up national human resources for the management and delivery of health services.

Strengthening the development of coherent and effective health care delivery systems: the primary health, cross-sectoral collaboration in health (e.g. across ministries and with the private sector), in particular with the Ministry of Education and the environmental health sector.

WHO was particularly active in efforts to prevent and control both communicable and noncommunicable diseases.

In 2011, upon invitation of the Saudi government, a high-level team from EMRO participated in a technical mission to observe public health measures undertaken by Saudi Arabia for the hajj pilgrimage that year. The team visited field hospitals set up at selected points of entry to see the curative, preventive and supportive health services provided for pilgrims. They also reviewed public surveillance systems for early detection of and response to infectious disease outbreaks and assessed the risk communication messages given to the pilgrims. The WHO team noted the high level of health care services and public health services made available to the pilgrims, which facilitated the performance of their religious duties free from ill health.

Later that year, in collaboration with King Saud University, EMRO organized a regional workshop in Riyadh on integrating and strengthening ear and hearing care within primary health care.

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