(MENAFN - Arab News) A regional body under the umbrella of the GCC Health Ministers Council is to be formed to implement integrated health programs for adolescents and youths in the member countries.
The decision was taken at the concluding session of the first Saudi Conference of the Health of Youth and Adolescents held in Jeddah yesterday.
Speaking to Arab News yesterday, Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khalid Al-Mirghalani said such a body would promote the health of adolescents and youth and organize community participation.
He explained the organization would include the participation of national and regional organizations, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA).
Al-Mirghalani said such a body would determine the database profiles on the health of adolescents and young people and provide advice and guidance to member states with regard to the planning of national programs and formulation of health policies for the health of adolescents and young people.
The body, he said, would provide a suitable platform for Gulf countries to exchange experience in the field of health in facing challenges regarding adolescents and youths in their respective countries. The organization will give its expertise in chalking out national programs and preparation of their national budgets for such programs.
The conference also called on all GCC countries to help adolescents and youths cultivate healthy habits and encourage them to refrain from undesirable habits such as smoking and also urge them be active.
The spokesman also pointed out that drawing out programs for adolescents and youths will contribute a great deal to maintaining a healthy family and a decent society.
It was also decided to hold regular meetings on this subject to introduce new programs and regulations to suit the needs and tastes of adolescents and youths in their respective GCC countries.
During the inauguration of the conference, Health Minister Dr. Abdullah 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 in accordance with Islamic teachings and traditions of the religion.