(MENAFN - Arab News) The SR 54.35 billion 2013 budget allocation for the Health Ministry, 15.45 percent more than that of 2011, will boost health services in the Kingdom, said Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah yesterday.
He said the new budget would enable the ministry to construct more medical cities, hospitals and primary health care centers across the country. "This will contribute to meeting the health requirements of citizens and improving health services in the Kingdom," he said.
Saudi Arabia announced last week a record surplus budget for 2013, projecting expenditure at SR 820 billion and revenues at SR 829 billion. It has allocated SR 285 billion for new projects.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who signed the budget, disclosed plans to establish five new medical cities and 19 new hospitals.
Spelling out this year's budget allocations, Al-Rabeeah said the ministry would set aside SR 25.2 billion for salaries and SR 16.39 billion for operation, cleaning and maintenance contracts.
"We have allocated SR 7.76 billion for medicine, training and catering, and SR 5 billion for new development projects," he added.
Al-Rabeeah said about 60 percent of the budget would go toward paying salaries.
"This year's budget included opening of 155 primary health care centers in all parts of the Kingdom," he pointed out.
There will be an increase of SR 400 million in allocations for medicine and medical appliances to reach the total SR 4.55 billion. Funds of SR 400 million and SR 800 million have been set aside for training and catering respectively.
"One of the most important features of the new budget is the self operation of 20 new hospitals, which have been already provided with necessary medical equipment and furniture," the minister said.
The new budget has made allocations for the 200-bed Al-Ansar Hospital in Madinah, a 500-bed mental hospital in Makkah, a 200-bed mental hospital in Baha, a 200-bed maternity and children's hospital in Gurayat and a 200-bed medical tower in Dammam.
"At present 12 mental hospitals and 17 maternity and children's hospitals are being implemented in various regions of the Kingdom," the minister pointed out. "We also intend to establish a medical tower for accidents and emergency at Dammam Medical Tower, an outpatient clinics tower at Qatif Central Hospital, and an emergency medical tower at Prince Abdul Aziz Hospital in Arar."
He added: "We have got budget allocation to establish three tumor centers in Jazan, Hail and Al-Ahsa, each with a capacity of 100 beds, three cardiac centers in Jazan, Tabuk and Taif and six dental centers in Makkah, Al-Ahsa, Taif, Qatif, Al-Kharj and Samita with a total of 430 dental clinics," he said. Currently, there are five tumor centers and nine cardiac centers under the ministry.
"We have already established four new dental centers in Dammam, Madinah, Al-Jouf and Najran while three dental centers are under construction in Tabuk, Qassim and Baha," the minister said.
"These projects are in addition to 102 new hospitals being implemented in various parts of the Kingdom and five medical cities ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to provide specialized medical services," he said.
Al-Rabeeah added: "Our ministry will leave no stone unturned to improve health services in the country by enhancing the quality of services at medical facilities, introducing new patient service programs and developing home medicine project, preventive medicine, emergency services and clinical referral services."