2003 News Story

Health ministry to effect decentralization policy

The Ministry of Health has issued new regulations and guidelines that will drastically change the country's healthcare system. In order for the Kingdom to extend health services to the needy, specifically mothers and children, the elderly and the disabled, students and those suffering from chronic diseases, executive powers in the nation's health zones will be decentralized and regulations outlining new guidelines and general principles for securing primary and secondary care will be implemented. In addition, a new code of conduct for medical professionals, including a guide-book on professional ethics, has been released.

Meanwhile, given the shortage of Saudi healthcare providers, there are plans to increase the number of students attending the Kingdom's medical colleges; to elevate the medical college at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah to an independent body to be named 'Faculty of Applied Medical Science'; and to enroll Saudi students in medical programs overseas, notably in Canada and Australia as well as at Bahrain's Gulf University.