Bahrain's medics and healthcare institutions will soon be issued licences online as part of a new post-pandemic strategy.

The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) yesterday unveiled its five-year plan that focuses on electronic transactions to fast-track services and boost accountability.

NHRA chief executive Dr Maryam Al Jalahma revealed the strategy for 2021-25, while speaking at a virtual government media briefing organised by the National Communication Centre.

It aims to achieve three goals – ensure a regulated and accountable healthcare sector, provide safe and trusted services and protect health rights for all.

Projects include updating resolutions, regulations and laws, obtaining international accreditation, development of electronic systems and new training programmes.

“The way forward is to regulate, inspect, improve, monitor, train and implement,” said Dr Al Jalahma.

“As part of our strategy (2021-2025), the authority will review and update resolutions and laws governing its work and those regulating the private sector.

“The second initiative is to have an international accreditation as an authority – after the tender board approval – we will try to get this global quality management certification.

“We are also trying to do all transactions online. We are working on licensing professions and institutions – everything will be automated in the coming years.

“We will organise workshops, conferences and seminars to boost quality in provision of health services.”Among the projects to be automated are:

l Registration of medicines, healthcare facilities and medical devicesl Licence application systeml Monitoring and follow-up of medical errorsl Accreditation of clinical research, and,

l Professional development programmes.

Assessing the previous strategy (2016-2020), Dr Al Jalahma said the authority was able to complete more than 90 per cent of the initiatives.

“During the last four years, the SCH has issued 21 decisions in the field of regulating professionals, health facilities and medicines,” she said.

“The most important were the issuance of national standards for classification and licensing of health professionals, updating technical and engineering requirements for health facilities, and decisions related to evaluation and accreditation of the facilities.

“We updated our website, and also opened a special section for investors – the Health Investment Centre, which contains all information for those wishing to invest in the health field in Bahrain.

“A dedicated investors’ office has also been opened in our new premises to advise them on investment opportunities in the health sector, laws, rules and regulations.

“We have been able to implement the electronic system for release of imported medicines, in addition to applying the licensing system for health professionals in co-operation with the Information and e-government Authority.”

Dr Al Jalahma said the NHRA took measures to reduce the spread of the virus by educating private healthcare institutions to strengthen preventive measures, and temporarily suspending non-emergency medical or health procedures.

The authority also conducted 595 inspection visits to health facilities to ensure commitment.

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