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In April 2022, a committee was formed to discuss the idea of the closure of the Faculty of Public Health and merging it with the Faculty of Allied Medical Sciences, which differs from its respective specialization.
The university’s decision, or rather, the decision of the head of the integration committee caused an uproar, pain and concern among a wide range of stakeholders, including doctors, nutrition experts, and environmental and epidemiologists, such as Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, President of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, and Director of the Awareness Department at the Food and Nutrition Authority, Dr. Mona Al-Sumaei, and public health specialist Dr. Muhammad Al-Saidan, former nutrition consultant in the Food and Nutrition Authority, Dr. Nawal Al Hamad, and others.
Closing this college simply means stopping the qualification and preparation of specialized cadres in the field of public health, especially at the present time, when the world is witnessing the spread of epidemics, viruses and emergency diseases which have confused people’s lives and shook the economies of countries and there is no guarantee that Corona virus will not return, albeit in a different way, and often stronger.
Therefore, the “Public Health” curricula was placed within the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, in addition to the need of the government institutions concerned with health in the country for the faculty’s outputs, which calls for maintaining this educational entity independent to be able to provide specialized cadres.
The closure is a waste of public money, and it is impossible to fight epidemics in the future without specialists from this faculty. Also, plans to open many hospitals require specialists in the fields of public health, because of its importance as an important tributary to provide the health sector with specialized cadres, in addition to its importance in training doctors in the fields of public health.
Those concerned with the matter question the reason behind this completely wrong decision, especially since it was taken in isolation from the senior staff of the faculty, including its dean. The process of including its five departments, into another faculty will inevitably result in its decay into a department in an environment that has nothing to do with public health, in the complete absence of the logic of merging, but based on the decision of a committee whose members lack the minimum level of specialization, and one of its leaders is known as influencers, his leniency in everything related to public health, and his belief that “Corona” was a conspiracy, and it should not have been taken seriously.
We will inevitably and very soon face health and environmental risks as a result of the closure of this faculty and the health situation will be exposed to a void that cannot be filled, knowing that this merger will result in high costs and a high rate of job turnover with a lack of incentive for non-citizen temporary contract holders.
In addition, all the time, effort and money invested by the state will be wasted, and all the efforts that were made for years in establishing this vital faculty will be destroyed, and what has been invested in Kuwaiti specialists graduates of the best international universities will be lost.
The challenges facing Kuwait from the spread of unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyles and smoking, and the high prevalence of chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and the spread of cancer, in addition to the risk of epidemics, infectious diseases, pollution, and climate change, all of them and others require the intervention of the Minister of Higher Education and the Minister of Health to stop the decision to cancel the Faculty of Public Health.
By Ahmad alsarraf