(MENAFN - Arab News) Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah urged his health officials in all departments that come under the purview of his ministry to abide by the royal decrees in the implementation of health projects as they are designed to serve the citizens equally in all health sectors. Al-Rabeeah reiterated that all the services of the ministry should be patient centered and officials should work under the slogan: "Patients First."
In a circular issued yesterday to all health officials who came under the ministry of healths remit, Dr. Rabeeah stressed the need to provide the best healthcare services possible for the citizens with the resources and facilities available in their respective areas of operation.
The Kingdom is divided into 20 health regions that are headed by a regional general health director.
He said that there were some 1,200 health officials working round the clock to ensure the rights of patients and to treat the patients as priority in all the facilities that come under the ministry.
Over 12,000 patients have benefited from the Home Healthcare Program (HHP) since it was introduced in April 2010. The initiative is aimed at providing a wide range of health care programs.
There are 560 health officials who are divided into 180 teams working in the field in all parts of the Kingdom's health regions and they are linked to 120 hospitals spread throughout the Kingdom to attend to the health needs of home-bound patients. "Some of the officials visit patients living in remote places in the Kingdom," the minister noted.
On a special directive from Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, 80 vehicles have been allocated to help health officials to visit homes regularly to monitor the health of patients covered under the program.
The minister said that during the year 1432, the ministry had performed 50,000 day-surgeries in ministry hospital. The ministry had also deployed 1,323 consultants to attend to patients who were suffering from terminal diseases such as cancer and renal complaints.
The minister said that he has commissioned a hotline: 01-2124224 to receive complaints of patients and the members of the public not only lodge complaints but also to make constructive suggestions to improve the healthcare services further.
The ministry has also set up a website: email@example.com for the benefit of the public and it has also entered the public arena through social websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
According to a recent NCB report, by 2015 the Kingdom's population will reach an estimated 31.69 million.
The number of Saudis past retirement age of 60 will grow by 27 percent by 2015, the report said, adding that this age group will account for approximately 4.7 percent of the total population in 2015, or 1,367,303 individuals - an increase from the current 4.4 percent.
This will lead to an increase in demand for high-cost medical care necessary to treat more serious diseases typically faced by older patients.
The United Nations estimates that Saudi life expectancy will increase to 73.8 years by 2015, provided demographic trends remain the same.
Based on population projections, outpatient visits and inpatient admissions are expected to reach 159 million visits and 4 million admissions respectively by 2015.
The Business Monitor International's Burden of Disease Database examines the total number of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to disease and injury annually. It indicates that by 2015, approximately 3.4 million DALYs will be lost to non-communicable diseases in the Kingdom.