I had the distinct pleasure of attending two significantly important regional cancer conferences held recently in Riyadh. Both of these conferences were directly supervised by the esteemed Director-General of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers’ Council, Prof. Tawfik Khoja. The Second Gulf Conference on Complementary and Alternative Medicine was held between 24-26 November 2013 and was spearheaded by Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Badah, Executive Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. During the past years, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has gained unprecedented interest around the world. The practice of CAM in the Gulf has deep historical roots where inherited traditional practices persist and play an effective role in treating many maladies and diseases, including cancer.
The other event was the Burden of Cancer Conference which was held between 21-23 October 2014 and was headed at the helm by Dr. Ali Bin Sa’eed Al Zahrani, Executive Director of the Gulf Center for Cancer Control. It was initiated in response to the growing cancer population in the gulf, the provision of healthcare services to these patients and the economics of fighting cancer and managing this disease. I believe that both of these conferences will contribute greatly to the Gulf’s health policy directions in the coming future.
Two important events were held recently in Kuwait on palliative care. The first was the international conference on “Palliative Care: A Prospective View” held between 13-15 April 2014 and the second was the regional workshop for the Training of Trainers on 23-26 November 2014 conducted by the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Gulf Federation for Cancer Control (GFFCC). The training was hosted by the Palliative Care Centre of Kuwait. This is a palpable proof that palliative care is expanding throughout the gulf and the Arab region.
While in Riyadh last November, Dr. Ali Al-Zahrani and I visited Her Highness Haifa bint Faisal bint Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of Zahra Breast Cancer Association. Present in our meeting were Dr. Suad bint Amer and Dr. Abdulrahman Fakhro, members of the GFFCC Board. The meeting was a very pleasant discussion on the efforts and successes of Zahra Association in breast cancer and other activities.
During the Burden of Cancer Conference in Riyadh, I met with Dr. Bassim Al Bahrani and Dr. Zahid Al Mandhari and planned to hold the next gulf conference in Salala, Sultanate of Oman on September 2015. Further information about this conference will be sent to all members of the GFFCC soon.
Dr. Khaled Al Saleh