Shoura Notes Sharp Drop in MERS Cases Compared to 2014

The Shoura Council observed on Tuesday that there is a remarkable drop in the number of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus cases this year compared to last year.

This was revealed during the 21st session of the Shoura Council chaired by its Deputy Speaker Dr. Amin Al-Jaafri on Monday.

The Heath Committee of the Shoura Council headed by Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Suwailem briefed members on the latest developments on coronavirus in terms of the number of infected persons and the preventive measures taken by the Ministry of Health to curb the spread of the disease.

In a report read out before the council, Dr. Al-Suwailem said deaths resulting from corona disease dropped by 38-41 percent out of all infected cases in the current year compared to 68 percent last year. He said most of the deaths were among those suffering from chronic diseases, especially patients with renal failure, pneumonia, and some cases of diabetes, he said.

Based on data given by officials of the Ministry of Health, Al-Suwailem said the infected cases among the medical practitioners dropped 18-fold in the current year compared to infected cases last year.

“This year, no health official was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) due to infections,” he told council members.

He attributed the spread of the disease to non-application of quality standards and lack of virus fighting regulations in health facilities.

He said the ministry officials also attributed the drop of infection cases to growing awareness levels of medical workers in government and private sector facilities as well as the immediate visits made by patients to hospitals as soon as they feel symptoms of the disease. This is in addition to the qualified staff in labs and related areas, he said.

Officials of the Ministry of Health assured the Shoura Council representatives that there was cooperation between the Ministries of Health and Agriculture in making tests on camels and those who are dealing with them, Al-Suweilem noted.

Since June 2012, the virus has claimed 408 deaths out of the 945 patients affected in the Kingdom. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health reported two deaths and four fresh cases in the capital.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the council called for more financial allocations to the Ministry of Health’s budget to help meet the increasing costs of health services and cater to the health needs of the citizens.

Speaking at a press conference, Assistant Speaker of the Council Dr. Yahya bin Abdullah Al-Samaan said the call was made at the council following the reading of the ministry’s annual report for 1434 to 1435 , which was tabled by Health Committee Chairman Dr. Sattam bin Saud Linganawi.

During Monday’s session, the council also urged the Health Ministry to offer incentives for its health officials working in remote villages and small towns and also requested the authorities to implement health information and tele-medicine programs in these areas.

The house also called on the ministry to consider the possibility of assigning home medicine program to the private sector and to health charitable organizations.

Considering the increasing number of emergency cases, the members also stressed the need to enhance the support arrangements at the emergency departments at hospitals to cater to the emergency needs of the patients who are rushed to the health facilities.

The members also urged the Ministry of Health to intensify awareness programs on organ donation, and make similar efforts in reflecting the harmful effects of tobacco through audio, visual and print media in coordination with the concerned bodies.

They also called on pharmacies to be strict in dispensing medicines which require medical prescription.

The members called for creation of jobs for staff working in areas supportive to health care centers and hospitals and, additionally, work out a suitable training plan in family medicine program.

They called for establishment of centers and hospitals for treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts in both the private sector and charity organizations.

They urged the ministry to exert more efforts to take care of patients whose treatment may need treatment abroad and make suitable arrangements for appropriate flight class based on their health condition, which should not be lower than business class. The patients have to be well received and admitted in the appropriate health facilities, whether they are coming at the expense of the government or by their own.


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