Arab News – Primary health care facilities are facing huge challenges including a severe shortage of specialists and poor service delivery.
This is according to Abdulaziz bin Saeed, undersecretary for public health and head of the command and control center at the Ministry of Health, who said this was forcing citizens to go to large hospitals.
He said the ministry has put in place short, medium and long term plans to develop the primary care sector by recruiting competent staff including specialists, according to a report in a local publication.
This includes deploying 50 percent of medical school graduates to these centers. Currently the proportion of doctors specializing in this type of care is about 3 percent, he said.
“One of the problems facing the ministry currently is that the majority of patients insist they must be treated at the most advanced medical centers even if their conditions do not require this,” he said.
He said there are 2,200 primary health centers across the Kingdom and the ministry hopes to assign at least one consultant to each center, particularly in family medicine, and child and maternity care.
He admitted that the ministry had previously not focused on creating a solid primary health care sector, which was resulting in a burden on large and advanced facilities.
Meanwhile, he said that the ministry has been doing everything it can to deal with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The ministry had learned a lot about dealing with infectious disease after handling the MERS crisis, he said.
“We have learned by dealing with the coronavirus to be more transparent with citizens through effective communication. Citizens must at all times know exactly what is happening around them. Honesty is the best way to gain their confidence. In my view, it has been a rather good and bitter experience at the same time,” he said.

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