Free medical care is no longer feasible: minister GCC wages war against chronic diseases

MANAMA, Jan 10, (KUNA): Bahraini Minister of Health Sadeq Al-Shihabi said Wednesday the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states face the challenge of improving the healthcare services and reverse the rising prevalence rate of chronic diseases.

“The high rates of drug prices add strains to our efforts to offer robust subsidy to healthcare,” Al-Shihabi said, noting that the biggest challenge is the financing for health services that could live up to the aspirations of both patients and government officials.

The minister made the remarks in an inaugural speech to the 74th meeting of the GCC ministers of health here.

“To offer free medical service is no longer an easy choice though health insurance became more urgent under the global political, economic and social turmoil,” he argued.

Dealing with the agenda of the GCC meeting, he said it covers, inter alia, the efforts to modernize the health systems, combat non-communicable diseases, upgrade the health facilities and launch regional specialized centers.

“The GCC countries share the concern about some epidemic and viral diseases which were not common in the region in the past, this requires more concerted efforts to minimize the threats of such new diseases,” he urged.

Meanwhile, GCC Secretary-General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani said the leaders of the GCC countries attribute great importance to the health sector.

He reminded of a range of resolutions by the GCC Supreme Council aiming to improve health service and meet the aspirations of the citizens for a better quality service.

“The recent GCC summit meeting here highlighted the need for better health services as the key to sustainable human development and welfare, Dr. Al-Zayani added.

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