JEDDAH – A team of 15 businessmen and a doctor led by former Health Minister Dr. Hamad Al-Manie is making preparations to launch a specialized children’s cancer hospital in Jeddah.
It will be established at King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, north of Jeddah, and is supported by Sanid charitable society.
It will provide treatment to both Saudi and expat children.
The hospital will also provide social services to patients and their families. “It will also conduct educational programs on cancer and ways to protect from this disease,” said Fahd Bin Ali Al-Joufi, a businessman who strongly backs the charitable project.
“We have decided to open an hospital to treat children suffering from cancer when we came to know that such a hospital is lacking in the city,” Al-Joufi told Al-Madina Arabic daily.
He said more than 700 children in the Kingdom are tested positive for cancer every year. However, he pointed out that only one out of 100,000 is affected by the killing disease.
“But cancer cases among children in the Kingdom are close to global average,” Al-Joufi said, adding that Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates in child deaths caused by cancer.
“The rate of cancer cases in Saudi Arabia is 270 percent more than the rate in the US,” he said. “But this figure can be brought to less than world average if proper treatment is made available at an early stage of the disease,” he said while stressing the need for a new hospital.
He also pointed out that there is shortage in trained manpower to treat the disease among children, especially in Makkah region.
“At present children with cancer are treated at pediatric section of hospitals in the Kingdom or tumor centers and they face the problem of shortage of beds,” Al-Joufi said.
The Health Ministry has announced its plans to establish three cancer centers with a total of 300 beds in Al-Ahsa, Hail and Jazan to treat children.
Three more centers will be established in Madinah, Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz City in Al-Jouf, and King Faisal Medical City in the Southern Region.
“But more such medical facilities are required to treat the growing number of cancer cases across the country,” Al-Joufi told the Arabic daily.