By Fatima Muhammad
JEDDAH — The Ministry of Labor and Social Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Health on Tuesday announced its decision to stop hiring foreign dentists to provide job opportunities for Saudis.
The decision was announced during a joint workshop held Tuesday in Riyadh to encourage the employment of Saudi dentists.
Ministry figures show that there are 26 dental colleges in the Kingdom, eight of which are private. An average of 3,000 dental graduates hope to join the labor market annually. The number of officially registered dentists in 2015 was 10,150, of which 5,946 were Saudis.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Ministry of Health also discussed methods to jointly monitor the implementation of their decision and the training of Saudis.
Mohammad Al-Rashid, a media person, hoped that Saudi dentists are encouraged to establish specialized dental clinics.
Meanwhile, in a meeting held earlier this week at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) investors talked about their struggle to obtain licenses, the absence of Saudi manpower, and the discrepancy between medical job titles in the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Ministry of Health.
Ahmad Balagdon, deputy head of the medical services committee at the JCCI, called for the creation of a higher agency comprising different government bodies to take the decision of closing down a medical establishment.
Samir Bahrawi, a member of the medical services committee, said that there is an absence of criteria for investigating medical establishments.
Commenting on the call for expanding investments to areas outside cities, he said it was difficult to convince investors to move to rural areas because of low financial gains and a lack of medical workers.
Fayad Al-Dandashi, assistant deputy ministry in charge of encouraging private sector investment in the medical sector, said that previously the role of the ministry was only to monitor the sector. However, now they are moving forward to enhance their cooperation with the private sector and are putting more initiatives in place to increase the satisfaction of the private sector with the ministry’s services.