69 million page views

Saudi Arabia: Ministry of health official angry at Saudi Aids rate revelation

Reader comment on item: Arabian Sex Tourism

Submitted by Sophie (Canada), Feb 24, 2006 at 06:16

Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Health Official Angry at Saudi Aids Rate Revelation

22/02/2006

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- A senior official at the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia criticized on Monday a medical consultant for revealing the number of AIDS cases in the Kingdom.

Dr. Aisha Metwalli, a female consultant at King Abdulaziz hospital in Jeddah told a women's cultural conference earlier in the week that, according to the latest medical statistics, the number of people with AIDS has reached 72380 in Saudi Arabia."

The source indicated that Dr. Metwalli had violated government regulations relating to AIDS that state health practitioners should avoid "creating panic amongst members of the public."

The nature of AIDS requires secrecy, especially with regards to patients' personal data and certain officials within the Agency for Preventive Medicine, part of the Ministry of Health, were the only ones entitled to handle such information, the source added.

Dr. Metwalli's latest remarks were not official authorized, given that she is not an AIDS specialist and is not directly responsible for patients. The source also pointed out that the Ministry of Health carries out a yearly inspection of all new cases across the Kingdom.

The source sought to distance the Ministry from the consultant's claim that a certain popular neighborhood was at the center of the AIDS epidemic in the Kingdom. He said her statements were not necessarily true because Dr. Metwalli had no access to the latest statistics on the issue.

In order to avoid a repeat of this scenario, the source called on all Ministry employees to refrain from commenting on issues outside their specialization. Registered cases were likely to be fewer than the number of people suffering from AIDS, the source added, because many fear being tested or are unaware they might be infected.

As part of its efforts to halt the spread of AIDS and HIV in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Health was continuously monitoring new cases, especially amongst at risk groups, in coordination with other government authorities, the source said.

According to the Ministry's latest statistics, from 1984 until 2004, 8919 have contracted AIDS, including 1111 recently diagnosed. Half live in Jeddah and around 16% in Riyadh.









Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Saudi Arabia: Ministry of health official angry at Saudi Aids rate revelation by Sophie

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2022 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)