Saudi Arabian Health Care System

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・MLA ・3 Sources

The Saudi Arabian government has specifically prioritized the improvement of the health care system (Gallagher 183). Its population has greatly improved in terms of healthy living especially in recent times. Saudi Arabian health care services as Jannadi et al (44) assert are classified in the context of national health care since the government is fully in-charge. In that case, there are several government agencies designated by the government to oversee and regulate the delivery of health care services. These agencies are the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA). Although all these agencies are instrumental in regulating health services, the most powerful is the MOH. The MOH has enhanced the increased participation and the growing role especially in the private sector to ensure health care services are provided (Gallagher 185).
The MOH is entrusted by the Saudi Arabian government to provide curative, rehabilitative and preventive health care to its population. Moreover, the ministry offers primary health care services (PHC) through health care centers that were established to foster health care access (Al-Ahmadi & Roland 334). The MOH adopts a referral system that ensures all members of the society access curative care at all levels. It then stipulates the order and manner in which health care services are provide to patients. Being a competent government agency, the MOH enhances the regulation of the health care sector to ensure consistency in the provision of health services (Jannadi et al 48). The agency also oversees the follow-up and supervision of health care activities that the private sector undertakes. The MOH, therefore, is a national health service that is depended upon by the entire Saudi Arabian population.
The MOH ensures that the public sector is well financed, managed, supervised ad controlled. It uses this model of management to ensure the specific needs of the entire population are met. Moreover, it could be challenging to identify the specific health requirements. However, the MOH regulates this by developing well-planned and serious steps to ensure competence and prudence are evident among health care officers (Gallagher 188). These regulations are based on giving more authority to regional health directorates, encouraging privatization of public hospitals and introducing insurance covers that meet individual needs.
The MOH is facing increasing pressure owing to the ever-increasing population. As a result, it gives more autonomy to regional directorates on issues of recruiting professional personnel, financial discretions, planning and formulating agreements with providers of health care (Jannadi et al 45). The MOH notes that the functions of regional directorates are derailed by a lack of spending authority and individual budgets (Gallagher 194). Hence, it has regulated the expenditure of most activities related to the health care sector. The autonomy of regional directorates is therefore hampered to enhance successful decision making.
The hospital autonomy was in the past interfered with but the MOH has sought to improve how public hospitals are managed. In so doing, hospitals have developed cooperation efforts and comprehensive operation efforts with insurance companies to foster the autonomy of the hospital system. The efforts by the MOH to regulate hospital autonomy as Al-Ahmadi et al (336) note have improved efficiency in terms of managerial and medical functions. As a result, hospitals in Saudi Arabia have achieved administrative and financial flexibility that adopts direct budgeting, quality health insurance and qualified health personnel at all levels. The autonomy has therefore enabled hospitals to transition to the entire privatization of public hospitals. Thus, public hospitals gain more experience in managing health care quality, workforce and budget.
The Saudi Arabian government had challenges in providing adequate funds for health care services. Since access to health care was free and the entire expenditure related to public health services was from the government, there was substantial cost pressure. The main contributors as Gallagher, (192) suggest were increased population, advanced technology costs and knowledge among citizens regarding health and community diseases. However, the MOH through the government has regulated this by establishing a Council for Cooperative Insurance. The Council introduces, regulates and supervises the implementation of the insurance strategy in the Saudi Arabian health care system (Jannadi et al 46).
The MOH has seen to it that the insurance scheme is implemented in three phases. The first phase entails applying insurance for both the Saudis and non-Saudis in non-governmental firms. This way, the employers are compelled to meet insurance cover costs. The next phase entails including the non-Saudis and the Saudis working in the public sector. In this case, the government pays insurance costs (Al-Ahmadi et al 338). The final phase entails applying health insurance to other groups such as religious organizations. Clearly, the MOH has been influential in regulating health insurance to improve health care services.
The MOH including other government agencies rendered the privatization of public hospitals crucial in reforming the health care system of Saudi Arabia. To be specific, the MOH initiated the process and the government made it a regulation. The consequence was that several public hospitals were sold and some rented to private firms. The privatization has been instrumental in expediting the decision making process and reducing the yearly expenses of the government in the health sector (Gallagher 193). Besides, the health care system manages to operate seamlessly due to the financial sources that consistently improve health care services. However, privatization tends to interfere with the system that connects PHC to hospital facilities (Al-Ahmadi et al. 339). Therefore, the MOH focuses on bringing on board more patients who find hospital-level care unaffordable.
The health insurance cover makes it easier to access hospital services directly rather than going through community hospitals and PHC centers to seek referrals. The MOH has set these regulations to protect the privileges of rural communities so that they can access equitable and fair health care services (Gallagher 196). Additionally, the government plays an integral role in applying adequate control in the health care sector. The government oversees health care expenditure to establish the influence of profit-seeking behavior and inflated pricing on health services.
The MOH has optimized the accessibility of health care services. In so doing, access to health services is equitable throughout the nation. In fact, health professionals and other service providers are adequately trained to ensure they address all the population needs. Although accessibility is hindered by the collaboration shortcomings in sectors related to health, the MOH has improved on the distribution of health care services (Jannadi et al 49). Since people had worst experiences before the health sector reforms, today the long queues in health facilities are reduced owing to the convenience and suitability of technology.
The MOH has improved health services in the entire nation to ensure equitable and satisfactory service delivery to all. In this case, the elderly and those with special needs have sufficient resources to access health care services (Al-Ahmadi et al. 337). Noteworthy, the MOH employs a practical strategy in the distribution of health services. Saudi Arabia has in the recent times recorded a higher number of health centers where its citizens can go for treatment. These are general hospitals, specialist, central hospitals and PHC centers. In addition, the MOH liaises with related sectors such as the water and power alongside social security services and transport to ensure health care services are also available in deprived areas.
The MOH has developed collaborative efforts with local communities to ensure PHC entails universal access to health care (Al-Ahmadi et al. 340). In so doing, it has ensured health facilities have better record keeping, required accreditation and licensing. These aspects enhance improvements in the quality and competence in administering care. Clearly, the efforts by government agencies to reform the health care system is evident through indicators such as immunization rates, life expectancy and mortality rates.
The MOH as Gallagher (193) notes has developed a national strategy to ensure adequate funding and allocation of resources in the health care sector. In that case, the Saudi Arabian government has directed efforts towards diversifying sources of funding, improving information systems, supporting the human workforce and emphasizing on the supervisory role. As a result, the private sector is encouraged to provide health services and improve the quality of rehabilitative, curative and preventive care. Eventually, this will be rolled out to different regions so that health care is equally distributed and services are free of discrimination.
In conclusion, the Saudi Arabian government continues to portray dedicated efforts towards improving its health care system. By giving the MOH the mandate to regulate the health care system, the increasing population has been well catered for. As a consequence, the health care services rendered to the Saudi Arabian population is greatly improved. In fact, the improvement applies to the different levels starting from primary to secondary and to tertiary. The reforms introduced by the MOH have tremendously changed the health care system of Saudi Arabia especially primary health care.

Works Cited

Al-Ahmadi, Hanan, and Martin Roland. ""Quality of Primary Health Care in Saudi Arabia: A Comprehensive Review."" International Journal for Quality in Health Care 17.4 (2005): 331-346.
Gallagher, Eugene B. ""Modernization and Health Reform in Saudi Arabia, Chapter 4."" Health care reform around the world. London, Auburn House (2002): 181-197.
Jannadi, B., et al. ""Current Structure and Future Challenges for the Healthcare System in Saudi Arabia."" Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management 3.1 (2008): 43-50.

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