The Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH) is marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October with the launch of two new Women’s Health Screening Clinics in ‘Al Hayat Mall’ and ‘Panorama Mall’ in Riyadh, as a first step, to be disseminated to other areas throughout the year, in association with GE Healthcare (NYSE: GE), Asala Holding and Dr. Sulaiman AL-Habib Medical Group. The clinics complement the National Breast Cancer Screening Program launched by the Ministry in 2012.
The first clinic was officially opened last week at Hayat Mall by HE Dr. Mansour Al-Hawasi, the Vice Minister of Health. The opening coincided with the launch of a month-long national breast cancer awareness campaign endorsed by the Ministry of Health at a number of malls across the Kingdom. The second clinic at Panorama Mall is expected to open this coming weekend.
The clinics are aimed at increasing access to essential health services for women and will offer general health checks including height, weight and blood pressure assessments; clinical breast examinations and mammography screenings; and health education with an emphasis on the promotion of healthier lifestyle habits. The two clinics staffed by female healthcare professionals, including qualified doctors, nurses, technicians and health educators, aim to screen around 10,000 women in the next year.
According to MoH statistics, breast cancer represents 19.9% of the total incidence of cancer among women, making it the highest rate among other cancer types.
“The launch of the two Women’s Health Screening Clinics is an initial expansion of the second phase of our National Breast Cancer Screening Program. Since the launch of the first phase of the national program, we have succeeded to provide services of medical examination and mammography. The campaign has received wide positive resonance among thousands of Saudi citizens,” said Dr. Mohammed Saidi, Director General of Hereditary and Chronic Diseases.
“We do our best to address breast cancer in Saudi Arabia, and improving the health of women generally and to enable them to conduct preventive examinations in many locations such as shopping malls, contributing to an enhanced level of awareness and reaffirm our commitment to developing health as a top priority. This will help to enrich the conversations about important health issues among women and their families and friends, and will catalyze them to undertake regular medical examinations as part of their daily life,” added Saidi.
The Women’s Health Screening Clinics project draws upon the respective capabilities and expertise of all partners. GE Healthcare played a key role in the design and development of the clinics. Lending its extensive expertise, Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group contributed to the design and fit out of the clinics and provides a team of highly qualified healthcare professionals, including mammography experts, nurses and health educators, to the MoH to operate the clinics. Asala Holding will provide the permanent space for the ongoing operation of the clinics.
“We are honored to partner with the Ministry of Health, on this critical milestone to expand the Kingdom’s National Breast Cancer Screening Program. We believe that the two clinics launched in shopping malls to provide medical examinations for women will serve as the pillars for strengthening the scope of the medical awareness campaign in Saudi Arabia,” said Mazen Dalati, President and CEO of GE Healthcare Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Nasser Bin Muhammad AlHuqbani, the president of Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group, said "There is no doubt that such step strongly complements our strategy in contributing strongly to carry out our social responsibility and raise both health and preventive awareness levels for all community members about all diseases, especially those that represent a real threat to their lives, such as tumors."
Asala Holding commented that facilitating the two clinics is part of their corporate social responsibility. Breast cancer is a matter of serious concern in the region and they understand the value of promoting awareness and providing early diagnostic care. Bringing greater health awareness into the malls provides an ideal platform to engage and educate the community on critical health issues affecting all Saudi citizens. They thank the Ministry of Health for the opportunity to be part of this community-oriented program.