Arab Health Ministers meet in Riyadh
May 5, 2009
The Executive Bureau of the Council of Arab Health Ministers held an extraordinary session in Riyadh today to discuss the swine flu outbreak.
Addressing the gathering, Saudi Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, who serves as head of the Executive Bureau, reported that Saudi Arabia has taken the necessary precautionary measures to confront the epidemic. He explained that an integrated national plan has been formulated, based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), and directives have been sent out.
Dr. Al-Rabeeah warned that the world is facing a real challenge from the disease, which has already spread to 21 countries and infected approximately 1,085 people. He called for global cooperation, noting that this meeting, organized by the Kingdom, provided the opportunity to coordinate efforts and to exchange experience.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Executive Bureau issued the “Riyadh Declaration” in which the ministers stressed the importance of integrating Arab efforts aimed at confronting swine influenza. They approved the formation of a committee of experts to formulate a unified Arab plan, encouraged consultations with the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other relevant bodies, and called for the provision of adequate stocks of anti-retroviral drugs.