RIYADH — Minister of Health Fahad Al-Jalajel has revealed that the coverage area of health services in Saudi Arabia expanded to approximately 94%, exceeding the target of 88% in 2023.

Al-Jalajel made the remarks while participating in a session in the 2024 Budget Forum, titled "The budget within the framework of developing basic services".

The minister's participation in the session comes to highlight the achievements in the Saudi healthcare sector of 2023, and the objectives that the sector aims to achieve in 2024.

In his speech, Al-Jalajel praised the support of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman to the health services in the Kingdom.

Several health projects were launched, the most notable of which is the Jazan Specialized Hospital, and the Maternity and Children's Hospital in Jeddah, which comprised the largest number of intensive care beds for newborns regionally, bringing the total number of beds in the projects that were opened within the last one year to more than 1,200.

Model health care centers have also been opened in many regions of the Kingdom, the minister said, noting that the new projects have contributed to reducing referrals outside the regions by 66% in 2023, compared to 2016.

As for the air ambulances, the service has saved the lives of 2,000 people since its launch. The number of oncology centers has doubled from 9 in 2016 to 18 centers in 2023, providing basic oncology services in all regions of Saudi Arabia.

Proton therapy technology has also been added to the health system in the Kingdom, the minister confirmed, noting that this technology works to treat tumors with precise radiation that kills cancer cells without affecting the organs adjacent to the tumor.

"This technology is the ideal option in treating pediatric cases and tumors in sensitive areas," Al-Jalajel said, adding that the Saudi Proton Center is the first of its kind in the region.

The modern care model is comprehensive and integrated for prevention and health services, the minister stated while praising the modern care in Al-Ahsa cluster, where the rate of people controlling diabetes reached 70%. He said that the Ministry of Health is working to implement this modern care in all regions of the Kingdom.

Health insurance played an important role in protecting people's health and reducing deaths from chronic diseases. The health policies contributed to reducing deaths from 600 to 500 deaths per 100,000 chronic cases, the minister said, indicating that the target is to reduce it to 400.

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