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      Healthcare human resource development in Saudi Arabia: emerging challenges and opportunities—a critical review

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          Abstract

          Background

          Saudi Arabia is currently passing through a transformational phase. There is a huge demand on the Saudi healthcare system to provide better healthcare facilities to the rapidly increasing Saudi population, as well as the growing elderly population. Lack of trained healthcare professionals and heavy reliance on foreign workers are significant aspects for policymakers to consider and deal with. It is also important to re-examine the healthcare Human Resource Development (HRD) initiatives so as to provide a huge reserve of healthcare professionals with appropriate learning and competence.

          Method

          This paper is a critical review based on secondary data collected from various sources including databases, reports, articles, books, government documents and earlier research undertaken in this regard. The paper is an attempt to document and evaluate the various steps suggested and undertaken by the new strategic plan, Vision 2030, and consequently documented in the National Transformation Program (NTP) adopted in April 2016 in the healthcare HRD sphere in Saudi Arabia.

          Results

          It has been shown that appropriate HRD capacity building needs to be adopted along with the aggressive policy regulation. It is also important to ensure that future health sector investment meets the needs of local healthcare HRD. Saudization and the adoption of the ‘Nitaqat’ program have played an effective role in pushing the Saudization targets in the private sector, and there is a huge scope for the absorption of young trained Saudi boys and girls in the healthcare sector.

          Conclusion

          Vision 2030 adopted in 2016 is a testimony to a revolutionary step undertaken by the government and that the healthcare sector is also passing through a major shift in its approach and execution. Vision 2030 has come out with a very clear sense of direction to the healthcare sector, and the projected shift from the existing one-third to two-third Saudi-to-foreigner workforce ratio by the year 2030 needs to be adopted carefully to turn the healthcare HRD challenges into opportunities.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Health care system in Saudi Arabia: an overview.

          The government of Saudi Arabia has given high priority to the development of health care services at all levels: primary, secondary and tertiary. As a consequence, the health of the Saudi population has greatly improved in recent decades. However, a number of issues pose challenges to the health care system, such a shortage of Saudi health professionals, the health ministry's multiple roles, limited financial resources, changing patterns of disease, high demand resulting from free services, an absence of a national crisis management policy, poor accessibility to some health care facilities, lack of a national health information system, and the underutilization of the potential of electronic health strategies. This paper reviews the historical development and current structure of the health care system in Saudi Arabia with particular emphasis on the public health sector and the opportunities and challenges confronting the Saudi health care system.
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            Hypertension in Saudi Arabia.

            To determine the prevalence of hypertension among Saudis of both gender, between the ages of 30-70 years in rural as well as urban communities. This work is part of a major national study on Coronary Artery Disease in Saudis Study (CADISS). This is a community-based study conducted by examining subjects in the age group of 30-70 years of selected households during a 5-year period between 1995 and 2000 in Saudi Arabia. Data were obtained from history using a validated questionnaire, and examination including measurement of blood pressure. The data were analyzed to provide prevalence of hypertension. Logistic regression was used to develop a risk assessment model for prevalence of hypertension. The total number of subjects included in the study was 17,230. The prevalence of hypertension was 26.1% in crude terms. For males, the prevalence of hypertension was 28.6%, while for females; the prevalence was significantly lower at 23.9% (p<0.001). The urban population showed significantly higher prevalence of hypertension of 27.9%, compared to rural population's prevalence of 22.4% (p<0.001). The prevalence of CAD among hypertensive patients was 8.2%, and 4.5% among normotensive subjects (p<0.001). Increasing weight showed significant increase in prevalence of hypertension in a linear relationship. Hypertension is increasing in prevalence in KSA affecting more than one fourth of the adult Saudi population. We recommend aggressive management of hypertension as well as screening of adults for hypertension early to prevent its damaging consequences if left untreated. Public health awareness of simple measures, such as low salt diet, exercise, and avoiding obesity, to maintain normal arterial blood pressure need to be implemented by health care providers.
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              Road safety and road traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia

              Objectives: To identify the changing trends and crucial preventive approaches to road traffic accidents (RTAs) adopted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) over the last 2.5 decades, and to analyze aspects previously overlooked. Methods: This systematic review was based on evidence of RTAs in KSA. All articles published during the last 25 years on road traffic accident in KSA were analyzed. This study was carried out from December 2013 to May 2014 in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Taibah University, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, KSA. Results: Road traffic accidents accounted for 83.4% of all trauma admissions in 1984-1989, and no such overall trend was studied thereafter. The most frequently injured body regions as reported in the latest studies were head and neck, followed by upper and lower extremities, which was found to be opposite to that of the studies reported earlier. Hospital data showed an 8% non-significant increase in road accident mortalities in contrast to police records of a 27% significant reduction during the years 2005-2010. Excessive speeding was the most common cause reported in all recent and past studies. Conclusion: Disparity was common in the type of reporting of RTAs, outcome measures, and possible causes over a period of 2.5 decade. All research exclusively looked into the drivers’ faults. A sentinel surveillance of road crashes should be kept in place in the secondary and tertiary care hospitals for all regions of KSA.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                mkalhanawi@kau.edu.sa
                Journal
                Public Health Rev
                Public Health Rev
                Public Health Reviews
                BioMed Central (London )
                0301-0422
                2107-6952
                27 February 2019
                27 February 2019
                2019
                : 40
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0619 1117, GRID grid.412125.1, Department of Health Services and Hospital Administration, Faculty of Economics and Administration, , King Abdulaziz University, ; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0619 1117, GRID grid.412125.1, Department of Human Resources Management, Faculty of Economics and Administration, , King Abdulaziz University, ; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
                Article
                112
                10.1186/s40985-019-0112-4
                6391748
                © The Author(s). 2019

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                © The Author(s) 2019

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