New screening program for renal patients in the offing

Dr. Hamza Al-Khosheim, deputy health minister for planning and development, center, opens the new renal center at the Prince Muhammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Dr. Hamza Al-Khosheim, deputy health minister for planning and development, center, opens the new renal center at the Prince Muhammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The ministry is set to introduce a new screening program for the 13,000 patients who have reached End Stage of the Renal Disease (ESRD), a senior official from the Ministry of Health said here on Tuesday.

Dr. Abdul Jamal Al-Ghamdi, assistant deputy minister for Hospital Affairs was speaking on Tuesday following the opening of a new Renal Care Center at the Prince Muhammed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital in the capital.

On behalf of Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih, Dr. Hamza Al-Khosheim opened the new renal center at the Prince Muhammed bin Abdulaziz Hospital in the presence of distinguished guests which included senior government officials and diplomats.

Speaking further, Al-Ghamdi said the new screening program will delay the dialysis treatment for a couple of years and improve their quality of life during the ailment.

There are currently 9,792 hemodialysis and 483 peritoneal dialysis patients throughout the Kingdom. “There are 143 dialysis centers throughout the Kingdom and our target is to reach 167 under the present program,” he added.

Following the opening of the center, Dr. Al-Khosheim said the new center is being set up with the cooperation of Diaverrum, a Swedish company which has a rich experience in the field.

The new dialysis unit, one of the largest centers in the Kingdom, has a capacity for 200 dialysis patients suffering from the chronic disease. “It is equipped with state-of-the art technology and would provide the highest medical quality in a warm and friendly atmosphere,” Dr. Al-Khosheim said.

He also said that the project carried out in coordination with a foreign company will bring in a lot of expertise to the Kingdom. “They will train the local human resources in the relevant field,” he stressed.

He pointed out that diabetes is the main cause for renal diseases. “The ministry has undertaken a Kingdom-wide health awareness campaign aimed at educating people on the hazards of the disease and its preventive methods,” he said.

He explained that the ministry plans to build 100 new hospitals that would provide 33,000 beds within the next five years. This would add to the current number of 40,000 beds, bringing the total to 73,000 beds in the year 2020, he added.

Dag Anderson, president and CEO of Diaverrum said: “This is one of the first steps on our joint journey to improve the quality of life for renal patients in the Kingdom. We will be investing SR500 million as well as resources, time and efforts to further develop and improve the existing infrastructure.”

“The key goal is to improve medical outcomes and to secure patient satisfaction. After all the stages of implementation, Diaverrum will run 93 dialysis centers and care for more than 5,000 patients in the country,” he said.

“Currently, we have around 300 employees in the Kingdom and this number will increase to 2,500 by the end of 2020,” he noted.

Wissam El-Soudi, acting head of mission at the Embassy of Sweden said: “Saudi Arabia and Sweden have strong, broad, bilateral relations. Saudi Arabia is today by far Sweden’s biggest and most important trade and investment partner in the region. Healthcare is one of the fundamentals of our relationship, where we have a longstanding cooperation, which has intensified in the last couple of years.”

“Swedish doctors and nurses have been here for a long time working side by side with their local colleagues and Saudi doctors and nurses are currently being educated in Sweden.”

 
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