Alarming healthcare issues

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Okaz newspaper

It is apparent that there is a glass barrier between the ministry and the Saudization program as hundreds of graduates remain jobless while available opportunities are given to less qualified people.

IT is no secret nor is it strange that the Ministry of Health is the most vital ministry as far as the Saudi citizen is concerned because health is the most important possession of any human being.

However, there is widespread dissatisfaction over the level of performance by the Ministry of Health in many areas. The services offered have so many apparent deficiencies and inequalities, which shows that the standards for measuring services are not applied equally in every facility.

Moreover, it is widely known that the number of healthcare facilities in the Kingdom is not enough to serve the large number of patients. Yet this problem can be solved through more and different types of services, and also with the improvement of the administrative system. But there are questions that need to be answered because there is perennial neglect, which is mysterious.

A couple of days ago we heard the news of new cases of coronavirus infection among Saudi citizens, and the fact that the Ministry of Health cannot contain the recurrent infections is worrying. We need to know the reasons for this and on whom the blame should fall. Does the responsibility fall on the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Agriculture for example, and if it indeed falls on the Ministry of Health then the citizens of Saudi Arabia need answers. Is the problem financial or managerial? The fact that the disease continues to spread for years now is alarming.

There is another alarming issue, which is the delay by the ministry in Saudizing of health sector jobs. Apparently there is a huge disparity in the ratio of Saudi medical cadres. In the best-case scenario, the ratio is about 12 percent, and it is known that many Saudi medical school graduates are jobless. Some put this problem on the shoulders of the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties because the commission is considered the biggest barrier for qualified job seekers with obstacles that were criticized both by fresh graduates and those with many years of experience.

It is apparent that there is a glass barrier between the ministry and the Saudization program as hundreds of graduates remain jobless while available opportunities are given to less qualified people. This is a case that needs open discussion and there needs to be convincing answers.

Despite the huge shortage of medical institutions able to provide services to the biggest healthcare market in the Middle East, there is another big mystery, which is the inability of the Ministry of Health to lure foreign and regional investors to fill the existing gap with attractive incentives.

The citizens need convincing answers, not just press releases, to so many confusing questions and alarming problems in this important ministry.

As they say health is a crown over the head of healthy people that is only seen by the sick. But health today is a social, economic and administrative partnership that requires sharing, transparency and use of expertise of others in a direct and straightforward manner.


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