RIYADH: The Belgian Embassy in Riyadh organized a discussion on the health of women and children on Wednesday to coincide with World Health Day.
Ambassador Dominique Mineur joined Dr. Nada Alsahan, an assistant professor at the College of Medicine at Alfaisal University and a mother-fetus medicine consultant at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center in Riyadh.
Dr. Marleen Temmerman, a gynecologist and head of the Center for Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Kenya, also participated in the discussion.
The virtual talk discussed the importance of early detection of diseases in women, women’s rights, gender-based violence, and access to modern health care to promote the health of women and children globally.
Alsahan discussed the importance of women’s health for healthy societies as a whole.
Healthy women make healthy families and hopefully healthy communities and then finally a healthy nation and a healthy world, she said.
The consultant described the progress Saudi Arabia has made in improving women’s healthcare and the initiatives they hope to continue under Vision 2030.
Since 2004, the Kingdom has introduced a premarital screening program for diseases that can affect couples and a national screening program for newborns.
Saudi Arabia has also taken major steps in maternal health by advising couples planning to have children.
The goals are health education and promotion, risk assessment and pre-pregnancy intervention to reduce the chances of poor perinatal outcomes, Alsahan said.
She added that she hoped raising awareness of women’s health would lead to more women being screened for diseases like breast cancer.
Temmerman spoke about the link between women’s rights and women’s health and the work she has done in establishing gender-based violence recovery centers in Kenya and advancing laws globally for victims of sexual assault.
She said that in the developing regions of the world more than 45 million women received inadequate prenatal care or not at all.
More than 200 million women want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraceptives, she added.
Temmerman stressed the importance of diplomatic cooperation in improving women’s health.
Yes, you need good research and data, but only when contacting other constituencies, parliaments and other governments, and the private sector and women’s organizations will your influence be much higher.
Ambassador Mineur said World Health Day was important for promoting a key UN Sustainable Development Goal.
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