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New Health-care Strategy Planned For The Elderly

In Jeddah a five-year strategy has been launched to offer improved health-care services to elderly people.
There has been a growth in the average life expectancy of people in the Kingdom with 5% of the population (1.2 million individuals) classed as being elderly in the recent years. “Improvements in the Kingdom’s health care have led t o an average life expectancy of 75 for women and 73 for men,” said Dr. Essam Al-Ghamdi, director general of Primary Health Care Centers. “The strategy began by refurbishing those health-care providers that come under the Ministry of Health and also primary health-care centers,” adding “the ministry has established a department to provide health care to elderly people at their homes.”

Al-Ghamdi also mentioned that those who take advantage of this include both who have been discharged from hospitals and who may not be severely ill. “70 percent of old people go to primary health-care centers and that it is the centers’ duty to reach out to elderly people, provide them with medical checkups to detect other health problems, and refer them to hospitals for further treatment.” He explained, due to a past survey of 3,000 elderly Saudis indicated that there are problems in the type of care given to the elderly. “The strategy is built on three points — promoting good health among the elderly, encouraging them to remain active while they age and educating them to be proactive in caring for themselves.”

“We are therefore targeting health-care providers at primary health-care centers. There are over 2,000 such centers in Riyadh alone. We want them to play a major role in this, as they aim that elderly people to remain active when they turn 70 and 80 and even beyond when they are in their 90s.” said Al-Ghamdi.”Some old people are more prone to falling … This is where the primary care centers can educate them on the best ways to remain healthy and avoid hurting themselves,” said Al-Ghamdi, emphasizing that early scanning can detect whether the person has problems with his or her seeing and hearing, and in moving. “The next stage, is building a database of old people, contacting them and meeting them at their homes.” Al-Ghamdi pointed.

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