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   2001| September-December  | Volume 8 | Issue 3  
    Online since July 30, 2012

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Health care services in Saudi Arabia: Past, present and future
Zohair A Sebai, Waleed A Milaat, Abdulmohsen A Al-Zulaibani
September-December 2001, 8(3):19-23
Health services in Saudi Arabia have developed enormously over the last two decades, as evidenced by the availability of health facilities throughout all parts of the vast Kingdom. The Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) provides over 60% of these services while the rest are shared among other government agencies and the private sector. A series of development plans in Saudi Arabia have established the infra­structure for the expansion of curative services all over the country. Rapid development in medical education and the training of future Saudi health manpower have also taken place. Future challenges facing the Saudi health system are to be addressed in order to achieve the ambitious goals set by the most recent health development plan. These include the optimum utilization of current health resources with competent health managerial skills, the search for alternative means of financing these services, the maintenance of a balance between curative and preventive services, the expansion of training Saudi health manpower to meet the increasing demand, and the implementation of a comprehensive primary health care program.
  2,928 395 -
Induced abortion from an islamic perspective: Is it criminal or just elective?
Mohammed A Albar
September-December 2001, 8(3):25-35
Background: Induced Abortion for social reasons is spreading all over the world. It is estimated that globally 50 million unborn babies are killed annually, resulting in the deaths of 200,000 pregnant women and the suffering of millions. The compli­ca­tions of illegal abortion are very serious. Abortion is still used in many countries as a means of family planning. The medical reasons for abortion are limited and con­sti­tute a small proportion of all abortion cases. This paper discusses the different views on abortion, its history, its evolution over time, and the present legal circumstances. The emphasis is on the situation in Islamic countries and the effect of Islamic Fatwas on abortion.
  2,899 228 -
Patients' satisfaction with primary health care centers services in Kuwait city, Kuwait
Abdullah H Al-Doghaither, Badreldin M Abdelrhman, Abdalla A.W. Saeed, Abdullah A Al-Kamil, Mohieldin M Majzoub
September-December 2001, 8(3):59-65
Background : Assessment of patient satisfaction offers a way of optimizing health status and prevents waste of medical resources. The direct measurement of patient satisfaction is a new phenomenon in Kuwait. Objective : Assess patient satisfaction with respect to primary health care services and study any patterns of association of sociodemographic variables on the patient satisfaction level. Methods : The sample consisted of 301 patients selected systematically from five primary health care centers to represent various geographic areas in Kuwait City. Just over 56% of the sample were females, 59% were married, the great majority (70.4%) were government employees, more than 60% had a monthly income of less than 900 KD, more than 54% were intermediate and high secondary school graduates, and 37% were university graduates or had advanced degrees. The data was collected by personal interview using structured questionnaire. Results: The overall mean satisfaction was 3.1 points out of five (62%). The mean satisfaction scores were 3.64, 3.29, 3.08, 3.05, 2.21 for laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, dental and physician services, respectively. The highest mean score for physician services was obtained for communication skills (2.23); for pharmacy services, the availability of medicine (4.01); for laboratory services, the availability of lab materials (3.73); for radiology services, the waiting time for x-ray (3.60); and for dental services, the adequacy of dentists (3.27). The results indicated that gender, income, marital status and occupation were the most consistent demographic predictors of satisfaction, with females, those with lower income, lower education levels and the unemployed having higher mean satisfaction scores. Conclusion: There is a need for corrective intervention in some service areas and for an educational program to inform patients of the objectives and limitations of primary health services.
  2,054 270 -
Pattern of intestinal parasitic infection among food handlers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Khalid A Kalantan, Eiad A Al-Faris, Ahmed A Al-Taweel
September-December 2001, 8(3):67-72
Objective: Identify the types and prevalence of intestinal parasites among food handlers, and test the effectiveness of the current pre-employment screening policy. Methods: A cross sectional survey was carried out in the catchment areas of seven primary health care centres (PHCCs) to represent various sections of Riyadh city. A total of 700 food handlers working in restaurants were randomly selected from the study area. All study subjects were asked to complete a data collection form and to bring a fresh stool specimen on the specified day to the designated PHCC. Results: About 66% of the selected subjects complied in bringing fresh stool specimens. Fifty nine (12.8%) of the specimens were positive for parasites. There was a significant association between the food handler's nationality and the likelihood of a positive specimen result, being highest among the Bangladeshis (20.2%) and Indians (18.5%) and the lowest among the Arabs (3.4%) and the Turks (10%). The commonest intestinal parasites isolated were Giardia lamblia (33.8%), followed by Enterobius vermicularis (27.4%). The current screening policy does not seem effective, as there was an absence of significant association between holding a valid PEHC and the test result, with 81% of the positive results from persons holding valid pre-employment health certificates (PEHCs). Conclusions: Though it is obligatory for food handlers to hold a PEHC in Saudi Arabia, the prevalence of intestinal parasites remains high. Possible solutions include health education on hygiene, more frequent stool tests, and assessment of the current annual screening procedure.
  2,006 187 -
Attitude, practice and needs for continuing medical education among primary health care doctors in Asir region
Abdullah I Alsharif, Yahia M Al-Khaldi
September-December 2001, 8(3):37-44
Objectives: Assess the attitude and practice of Primary Health Care (PHC) physi­cians in Aseer region, their educational needs and recommendations to establish a continuing medical education program (CMEP) to address these needs. Methods: This study was carried out during the first half of 1999 in Aseer region, Saudi Arabia. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to all PHC physi­cians in Aseer region. The questionnaire explored socio-demographic charac­teristics, scientific background, the attitude towards CME, the current method for medical updating, the barriers to CME, and the topics requested for a future CMEP. Results : There were a total of 383 PHC physicians in Aseer region, 86% of whom responded to this questionnaire. Of these 76.1% were Arabs, 91.2% were married, 26.3% had post-graduate qualifications and 68.6% had had no experience in the PHC field prior to arriving in Saudi Arabia. Most respondents showed a positive attitude toward CME. Nearly two-thirds (64.4%) had adequate time for CME, 86.7% allocated time for CME, and 64.4% were ready to participate as tutors in CMEP. Suggestions were given by 49.6% for establishing a CMEP in the region. The most popular methods practiced for CME were reading medical journals (79.8%) and medical textbooks (53.8%), and attending training courses (39.6%). The medical subjects that were identified as needed were emergency medi­cine (24.5%), pediatrics (20.8%), internal medicine (20%), and obstetrics/ gynecology (18.7%). However, 75.2% also indicated that computer literacy was a practice requirement, 57.7 and 54.1% thought designing diabetes and hypertension management programs were vital, and 41.7% said learning how to design a PHCC action plan was essential. Conclusion: PHC physicians in Aseer region had a positive attitude towards selec­tive CMEP. They needed CMEP but felt its content should be in line with their practice needs.
  1,782 186 -
Knowledge and attitude towards screening mammography among 400 women in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia
Fatma A Al-Mulhim
September-December 2001, 8(3):73-78
Objective: Assess knowledge and attitude of Saudi females towards screening mammography. Material and Methods: A sample of four hundred Saudi females were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Results: Positive family history of breast cancer was the most significant factor that was positively associated with individual knowledge and attitude towards screening mammography (p<0.00001). There was no significant association with the level of education. Poor knowledge and attitude were observed among 41.8% of all participants, especially in relation to not having mammography done or not wishing to have it done. There were 51 (12.8%) participants who had not had mam­mography done, but wished to have it, 25 (6.3%) participants who were undecided about having mammography done in the future, while 67 (16.8%) wished to have it done every one to two years. Conclusion: This study showed that there has been deficient knowledge and attitude towards screening mammography even among the highly educated, and stressed the need for health education on the importance of screening.
  1,797 147 -
Seroprevalence of rift valley fever among slaughterhouse personnel in Makkah during Hajj 1419h (1999)
Abdul-Hafeez Turkistany, Ashry G Mohamed, Nasser Al-Hamdan
September-December 2001, 8(3):53-57
Objectives: Determine the sero-prevalence of rift valley fever (RVF) among slaughterhouse personnel in Makkah during Hajj and define personal and work place correlates. Materials and methods: A sample of 294 participants were chosen randomly from slaughterhouse personnel in Makkah during Hajj 1419 (1999). Data were collected through personal interviews using a pre-designed questionnaire consisting of personal and work place variables, e.g. age, nationality, type and hours of work. A blood sample was collected from each participant and tested by enzyme immuno-assay for IgG antibody using killed antigen for rift valley virus. Results: Of the total sample, 17% was seropositive for RVF. The rate of infection varied with country of origin: Syria (10.6%), Egypt (21.2%), Bangladesh (22.6%), Mali (47.1%) and Niger (50%). The number of animals slaughtered per hour and daily hours of work were significantly associated with prevalence of RVF (p<0.05).Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that nationality and daily hours of work predicted 84.1% of the occurrence of RVF. Recommendations: Sero-surveys should be done among slaughterhouse personnel in Saudi Arabia and other countries particularly in countries known to be free from RVF, e.g. Syria and Bangladesh to assess the situation of RVF. The importation of animals from endemic areas should be banned.
  1,714 198 -
Continuing pharmaceutical education for community pharmacists in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia
Mastour S Al-Ghamdi
September-December 2001, 8(3):45-52
Background: Community pharmacists in Saudi Arabia very often make decisions that affect patient outcome. Previous studies have indicated that they have access to limited sources of information. Therefore, structured continuing phar­maceutical education (CPE) is necessary to improve their standards and attitudes. Aims: Identify the most important topics for CPE as well as the most significant barriers to conducting CPE successfully. Methods : A questionnaire was distributed to 120 pharmacists working in 88 community pharmacies in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The survey contained five sections: general background, topics for CPE that could be of great interest to community pharmacists, possible obstacles to attending CPE, method of instruction, and the most suitable time and day of the week for conducting CPE. Results: One hundred and five (87.5%) pharmacists answered the survey questionnaire. The rank order of the five most selected topics for CPE were: drug interaction (81.9%), drug use during pregnancy (77.1%), use of anti-microbial agents (62.5%), pharmaceutical ethics (53.3%), geriatric and pediatric pharma­cology (45.7%). For pharmacists, the most important obstacles to attending CPE were lack of time (96.2%), distance from practice (74.2%), and lack of programs or infor­mation about these programs (54.3%). Interestingly, 47.6% of the pharmacists recom­mended credentialing CPE and stated that knowing the lecturer was not considered an important factor. Conclusion and recommendations: The findings of this study demonstrated that pharmacists are willing to participate in CPE programs. However, the working conditions of pharmacists would be a major barrier to their attendance. Therefore, improvement of the working conditions of community pharmacists, development of credited CPE programs in each region, as well as improving communication between the Saudi Pharmaceutical Association and community pharmacists are highly recommended.
  1,760 151 -
Biochemical assessment of home made fluids and their acceptability in the management of diarrhea in children in the Gezira state, Sudan
Tahani El Faki, Hayder E Babikir, Khalid E Ali
September-December 2001, 8(3):83-88
Objectives: To determine the biochemical constitution of homemade fluids and assess their acceptability and efficacy for the management of acute diarrhea in Sudanese children. Material and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of 150 children selected randomly. The fluids studied were 36 samples of sorghum-based solutions (nasha) and 10 samples of rice water. Samples were randomly collected from households and analyzed to determine the pH, carbohydrates, proteins, fat, crude fiber, ash and electrolytes (Na + , K + and Cl-). Results: In addition to being very useful for rehydration, the two fluids were found to contain considerable amounts of nutrients. The sodium and chloride contents of homemade fluids were found to be much lower than those of the WHO/UNICEF ORS (oral rehydration solution). These electrolytes can be adjusted by adding table salt (3-3.5 g NaCl to one litre of sorghum-based solution and 2.3-2.6 g NaCl to one liter of rice water) to bring them to concentration comparable to that of the standard ORS. Conclusion: Homemade solutions can be modified by adding table salt to bring them to the standard ORS and can be used successfully to prevent dehydration. This will solve the problem of the availability of ORS and reduce morbidity and mortality from diarrhea.
  1,648 125 -
Views of undergraduate students on objective structured clinical examination in neurology: A preliminary report
Hassan M Ismail
September-December 2001, 8(3):79-82
Objective: Obtain the undergraduate medical students' evaluation of an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) formed by two stations in neurology. Methods: The fifth-year medical students taking the neurology course at King Faisal University during the first rotation of academic year 1420-1421H (2000-2001G) made the evaluation. The time for each station was seven minutes. After finishing the exami­­nation, each student completed a six-item questionnaire on coverage, question clarity, time, patients, educational usefulness and organization of the examination with yes, no or don't know responses. Results: A total of 48 students (30 males and 18 females) took the examination. The average time to complete the examination for a group of 16 students was 2 hours. The responses were positive for clarity of questions and organization of the examination 41(85%), and allotted time 36(75%). Thirty-two students (67%) found the structured exami­nation a useful educational experience. About half the students expressed their concern about the coverage of taught material and the number of patients seen in the examination as representative of those seen during the course, and 11 students (23%) requested more time. Conclusions: The students' response to the use of the structured clinical examination as an objective tool for evaluation of clinical skills in neurology was favorable and com­parable to reports from other parts of the world. Improvement is required in the number of patients, coverage and allotted time to optimize outcome by improving content vali­dity and reducing stress on participating patients.
  1,506 144 -
Medical education: Which way forward? *
Zohair A Sebai
September-December 2001, 8(3):17-18
  1,270 109 -


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