(MENAFN - Arab News) Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Rabeeah said the Kingdom has chalked out a strategic national plan focusing on the health of adolescents and young people to provide comprehensive integrated health services for all segments of society.
The minister's speech was read out at the inauguration of The First Saudi (and Third GCC) Conference of the Health of Youth and Adolescents held in Jeddah yesterday. The conference was sponsored by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
On behalf of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishal bin Majid inaugurated the conference.
The health minister's speech was read out by Deputy Undersecretary for Curative Affairs at the MOH Dr. Aqeel Al-Ghamdi.
Al-Rabeeah said the national strategy has been drafted for the youth within the framework of scientific, social and religious practices and customs in the Kingdom. The minister also said these plans are in line with the customs and traditions of the Saudi society and they are in accordance with the Shariah regulations and traditions of the religion.
He noted that adolescence is an important stage in human life since it is a period where the youth goes through physiological and psychological changes in his life. "They need proper guidance at this stage," the minister stressed.
"In the context of interest and focus targeting adolescents and youths, the Executive Board of the Health Ministers Council for GCC States has launched the 6th decree of the 66th conference which was held in Sanaa, Yemen, which approved the Gulf prospective regarding 'Better Health for Adolescents,' and to also assign a Gulf committee for adolescents and youths health within the Gulf states," said Dr. Tawfik A. Khoja, general director of Executive Board of the Health Ministers' Council for GCC States.
Khoja said the committee would be responsible for development and follow up of plans, strategies and programs. GCC countries are asked to form a national committee to involve members from all relevant entities.
In a separate statement, Al-Ghamdi said the adolescence period, which is an important period of development and growth in man's life, has not been among the top priorities of primary health care services in many countries worldwide. Meanwhile, the determinants of adolescents' health were not highlighted enough to allow for development of services for such a sensitive age group, he said.
However, he added that the EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office) region is facing devastating social, economic and cultural changes, as an increasing adolescents population size might constitute enormous challenge facing adolescent health development and promotion.
Chairman of the conference organizing committee Dr. Essam Al-Ghamdi said the GCC states target adolescents and youths by working on development of comprehensive and integrated health services as well as set a national strategy for the age group.
The chairman also suggested conducting a unified Gulf study related to adolescents' health through assessment of knowledge, attitude and practice of secondary school students related to public and reproductive health. The Gulf committee should collect all available Gulf states' studies and set the most important recommendations to set the relevant Gulf collaborative priority activities as well as to encourage the GCC states' ministries of health to establish health departments for adolescents.