June 16, 2021: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) continues to provide oversight and inspection services on private medical and pharmaceutical facilities and medical advertisements to ensure that they are abiding by the ministry's standards. The services are being carried out in a flexible manner to enhance the self-censorship of these facilities on the grounds of the public-private partnership which is a key pillar for the country's health sector.
This comes as part of MoHAP's strategy to provide a vital legislative framework and, governance, and distinctive regulatory and supervisory services to enhance the competitiveness and performance of the healthcare sector. It also falls within its strategy to implement the national standards, enhance the supervisory role on medical and pharmaceutical facilities.
In the same vein, the Ministry is also working to support this role by increasing its specialized medical cadres working as juridical officers and inspectors supported with the latest medical technologies which allow them to perform the mission swiftly and accurately.
Inspection of medical and pharmaceutical facilities service
Dr. Hessa Mubarak, Director of Health Empowerment and Compliance Department explained that the service includes checking up on some items related to the safety standards of medical and pharmaceutical facilities.
This includes ensuring that doctors and technicians are holding a valid license, monitoring the storage conditions of medicines and pharmaceuticals, and ensuring compliance with medical and technical safety requirements for operating rooms and engineering standards while ensuring the provision of easy access to community members, especially the people of determination, and respecting patient privacy.
In addition to checking on the safety of vaccinations provided by medical facilities and the adherence to drug prices and not to dispense antibiotics without medical prescription, the service includes verifying the application conditions of infection control, sterilization of medical tools, disposal of medical waste in accordance with local and international laws and standards, and not tampering with the records of dispensing controlled, semi-controlled drugs, and psychotropic substances.
During their periodic visits to the medical and pharmaceutical facilities, the inspection teams check on the compliance of medical and pharmaceutical practices with that legislation and laws and prepare a report on the violations and measures taken. The inspection teams check back with these facilities to ascertain they have taken appropriate measures and have corrected the violations.
Complaints about private health facilities
Dr. Mubarak added that the ministry also provides the possibility to complain about private health facilities and their staff via an advanced electronic system. The service aims to ensure that health care providers exercise their role in accordance with the policies and regulations governing the work of private health facilities. It also falls under the ministry's efforts to develop electronic services that aim to improve the quality of the health system, innovate smart solutions, and ensure the application of quality systems.
The system makes it easier for the customers to follow up on the stages of the complaint while ensuring impartiality, confidentiality, and reliability of the information provided by them. This contributes to improving the procedures to decide on complaints and obtain an integrated reference to its data to enhance transparency and credibility.
Control on medical advertisements
She went on to say that the ministry also provides a service to control medical advertisements published by private health facilities for marketing purposes, including licensed and unlicensed advertisements.
The licensed advertisements are monitored to ensure that they meet the conditions, laws, and regulations in force and comply with the terms of advertisement licensing and commitment in terms of advertisement form, advertisement language, format, duration, and others according to the executive regulations of Ministerial Resolution No. 430 of 2007. Dr. Mubarak noted that the ministry tends to follow phased measures starting from the warning to applying penal measures to violators.
Such measures aim to protect the health of community members from unlicensed advertisements which promote fake products just for financial gains, regardless of the risks and damages of consuming these products to public health.
'The ministry is very concerned about raising community members' awareness about the balanced and licensed medical advertisement and avoiding misleading and anonymous advertisements that spread on social media platforms or fake websites. The ministry also works hard to prevent this phenomenon in order to preserve public health and protect society. This comes in line with Cabinet decisions, including Resolution No. 7 of 2007 regarding health advertisements, which aims to monitor advertisements for medical products to ensure that they are safe, meet approved standards, and are in line with professional ethics that enhance the health and safety of society, as well as Cabinet Resolution No. 44 of 2016 regarding fees for some services provided by the Ministry of Health,' she said in conclusion.