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1.  Progress toward malaria elimination in Jazan Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: 2000–2014 
Malaria Journal  2015;14:444.
The draft Global Technical Strategy for malaria aims to eliminate malaria from at least 10 countries by 2020. Yemen and Saudi Arabia remain the last two countries on the Arabian Peninsula yet to achieve elimination. Over the last 50 years, systematic efforts to control malaria in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has successfully reduced malaria cases to a point where malaria is now constrained largely to Jazan Province, the most south-western area along the Red Sea. The progress toward elimination in this province is reviewed between 2000 and 2014.
Data were obtained from the Ministry of Health case-reporting systems, activity reports, unpublished consultants reports, and relevant scientific published papers. Sub-provincial population data were obtained the national household censuses undertaken in 2004 and 2010. Rainfall data were obtained from the Meteorological Department in Jazan.
Between 2000 and 2014 there were 5522 locally acquired cases of malaria and 9936 cases of imported malaria. A significant reduction in locally acquired malaria cases was observed from 2000 to 2014, resulting in an average annual incidence (2010–2014) of 0.3 cases per 10,000 population. Conversely imported cases, since 2000, remain consistent and higher than locally acquired cases, averaging between 250 and 830 cases per year. The incidence of locally acquired cases is heterogeneous across the Province, with only a few health districts contributing the majority of the cases. The overall decline in malaria case incidence can be attributed to coincidental expansion of control efforts and periods of exceptionally low rainfall.
Jazan province is poised to achieve malaria elimination. There is a need to change from a policy of passive case detection to reactively and proactively detecting infectious reservoirs that require new approaches to surveillance. These should be combined with advanced epidemiological tools to improve the definitions of epidemiological receptive and hotspot malaria risk mapping. The single largest threat currently remains the risks posed by imported infections from Yemen.
PMCID: PMC4640236  PMID: 26552387
2.  Evaluation of applied public health emergency system at Prince Mohammed International Airport in Almedinah during Hajj season 2014: a qualitative case study 
BMC Research Notes  2015;8:435.
During the Hajj season 2014, several public health measures were applied by the Ministry of Health at Prince Mohammed International Airport in Almedinah. However, several operational defects affected the provision of preventive health services for passengers and airport workers. This study aims to evaluate the applied public health emergency system at the airport, detect any potential gaps and to provide appropriate operational solutions.
This is a qualitative case study conducted at Prince Mohammed International Airport in Almedinah during the 2014 Hajj season, September 2014. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews, focus groups and policy document reviews. Interviews were conducted with the 14 individuals of the airport’s decision makers and relevant health practitioners. Data were recorded via taking notes during interviews and data coding was performed to produce the main themes and subthemes of the study.
The main findings of the study revealed three main defects affecting the applied public health emergency system at the airport. The main themes were mainly related to shortage in logistics related to public health emergency systems, shortage in proper documentation of policies and lack of documented protocols of communications among airport stakeholders.
The study highlighted the main factors hindering the application of public health emergency measures at the airport. A Public Health Emergency Contingency Plan was proposed as a method to regulate the process of providing logistics for public health preventive services, the method of producing documented policies and methods of producing Memoranda of Understandings as communication regulators.
PMCID: PMC4568065  PMID: 26364051
Emergency; Public; Health; Hajj; Preventive; Airport
3.  Asthma control among adults in Saudi Arabia 
Saudi Medical Journal  2015;36(5):599-604.
To explore the determinants of uncontrolled asthma in Saudi Arabia.
A consecutive series of adult asthma patients attending 3 pulmonary primary care clinics in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for a scheduled appointment were interviewed. A multiple logistic regression analysis was used.
The proportion of patients with uncontrolled asthma was 68.1% (177/260). Daily tobacco smoking or monthly household income less than 15,000 Saudi Arabian Riyals were associated with a 4.6 (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.3-16.4) and 3.4 (95% CI=1.8-6.6) times increase in the odds of having uncontrolled asthma. Patients with less than a graduate degree (odds ratio [OR]=3.1; 95% CI=1.0-9.5) or patients who were unemployed, disabled, or too ill to work (OR=3.1; 95% CI=1.4-6.9) had poorer asthma control. Having heartburn during the past 4 weeks decreased the odds of asthma control by 2.5 (95% CI=1.3-4.9), and having chronic sinusitis during the past 4 weeks decreased the odds of asthma control by 2.0 (95% CI=1.0-4.0) times. Being female (OR=2.0; 95% CI=1.0-4.0) or ≥35 years of age (OR=2.0; 95% CI=1.0-3.9) was also associated with having uncontrolled asthma.
Our findings suggest that most respondents had uncontrolled asthma. Less modifiable socio-demographic factors (for example, income, education, occupation, gender, and age) significantly increased the odds of having uncontrolled asthma. However, modifiable risk factors such as tobacco smoking and clinical factors such as heartburn and chronic sinusitis could also be targeted for intervention.
PMCID: PMC4436758  PMID: 25935182
4.  Patterns of tobacco consumption in food facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):173-178.
This study aimed at assessing prevailing patterns and risk factors of tobacco consumption among clients, food handlers and employers of food facilities, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
A cross-sectional approach to a representative sample of food facilities in Riyadh was used. A sample of 3000 participants included clients (75%); food handlers/hospitality workers (20 %) and employers (5 %). Participants were reached at restaurants, food courts or cafes. A modified version of the WHO-CDC-Global Youth Tobacco Survey questionnaire was used for data collection.
The prevalence of tobacco use at food facilities was found to be 40.3 %, of which 74% were customers, 18.8% were food handlers and 7.2% were managers. The consumption of tobacco was higher at restaurants (39.9%), but lowest at food courts of shopping malls. Water pipe (55.3%) was the main consumption type, followed by cigarettes (42.6%) and chewing tobacco (2.1%). Multivariate analysis showed that gender (male), marital status (single), and type of food facility (Estaraha and café/coffee shop) were independent risk factors associated with tobacco use at food facilities.
Tobacco use is very common in food facilities in Riyadh as reflected by results of our study, especially among single males Saudis. We should build on success encountered in banning smoking in airports, airplanes, shopping malls, market places, educational institutions and healthcare facilities, extending the ban to include food facilities as well. This is important for the health of non-smokers as well as smokers themselves.
PMCID: PMC4073576  PMID: 24987478
Food facilities; Riyadh; Saudi Arabia; tobacco use
5.  Home caregivers’ satisfaction with the services provided by Riyadh Military Hospital's home support program 
Annals of Saudi Medicine  2011;31(6):591-597.
The satisfaction of the family is essential to the success of home care support services. This study aimed to assess home caregivers’ satisfaction with support services and to identify potential factors affecting their satisfaction.
The study was conducted in the Family and Community Medicine Department at Riyadh Military Hospital using cross-sectional design over a period of six months.
Two hundred forty participants were recruited by systematic random sampling from the division registry. Data were collected through telephone calls using a designed structured interview form. All research ethics principles were followed.
The response rate was 76.25%. Most caregivers were patients’ sons or daughters. The duration of patients’ disabling illnesses varied from less than 1 year to up to 40 years. The majority of caregivers agreed that a home care services team provided the proper healthcare-related support to the patients and improved caregivers’ self-confidence in caring for their patients. Overall, on a scale of 100%, the median level of satisfaction was 90%, and 73.2% of caregivers had a satisfaction score of 75% or higher. Increased age, female gender, and more frequent home visits were positive independent factors associated with caregivers’ satisfaction scores.
Although most caregivers are satisfied with the services provided by a home care support program, there are still areas of deficiency, particularly in physiotherapy, vocational therapy, and social services. The implications are that caregivers need to be educated and trained in caring for their patients and need to gain self-confidence in their skills. The program's administration should improve physiotherapy, vocational therapy, social services, and procedures for hospital referral.
PMCID: PMC3221130  PMID: 22048504
6.  A validation study comparing the sensitivity and specificity of the new Dr. KSU H1N1 RT-PCR kit with real-time RT-PCR for diagnosing influenza A (H1N1) 
Annals of Saudi Medicine  2011;31(4):351-355.
A new test (Dr. KSU H1N1 RT-PCR kit) was recently developed to provide a less expensive alternative to real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). We report the findings of a validation study designed to assess the diagnostic accuracy, including sensitivity and specificity, of the new kit, as compared to real-time RT-PCR.
Cross-sectional validation study conducted from 18-22 November 2009 at a primary care clinic for H1N1 at a tertiary care teaching hospital in Riyadh.
Nasopharyngeal swab samples and data on socio-demographic characteristics and symptoms were collected from 186 patients. Swab samples were sent to the laboratory for testing with both real-time RT-PCR and the new Dr. KSU H1N1 RT-PCR kit. We measured the sensitivity and specificity of the new test across the entire sample size and investigated how these values were affected by patient socio-demographic characteristics and symptoms.
The outcomes of the two tests were highly correlated (kappa=0.85; P<.0001). The sensitivity and specificity of the new test were 99.11% and 83.78%, respectively. The sensitivity of the new test was affected only minimally (96%-100%) by patient characteristics and number of symptoms. On the other hand, the specificity of the new test varied depending on how soon patients were tested after onset of symptoms (100% specificity when swabs were taken on the first day of the symptoms, decreasing to 75% when swabs were taken on or after the third day). The specificity of the new test also increased with increasing body temperature.
The new test seems to provide a cost-effective alternative to real-time RT-PCR for diagnosing H1N1 influenza. However, further testing may be needed to verify the efficacy of the test in different settings and communities.
PMCID: PMC3156509  PMID: 21808109
7.  Characteristics of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) infection in patients presenting to a university hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Saudi Medicine  2010;30(1):59-62.
A national plan of management for flu-like illnesses was developed by the Saudi Ministry of Health after the first outbreak in Saudi Arabia in June. We describe the clinical presentation of the H1N1 cases attending King Khalid University Hospital (KKUH) between July through September 2009 and identify the high-risk age groups.
All patients presenting with influenza-like illnesses (ILI) in the H1N1 clinics during the specified period were clinically examined and tested using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Those who were clinically diagnosed and confirmed positive for novel influenza A (H1N1) were included in the study.
Over a 6-week period, 117 cases of laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in KKUH with a mean (SD) age of 19.6 (16.7) years, of whom 72 (62.1%) were males. Most reported cases were Saudis (n=99, 85.3%); 94 (81%) had no travel history outside the country; 100 (86.2%) had had no contact with an H1N1-identified patient; 33% were aged 5-14 years and 28.4% were aged 15-29 years. The most commonly reported symptoms were fever in 99 (85.3%), cough in 9 (81%), runny nose (33.6%) and sore throat (21.3%). All 117 cases were confirmed positive using real time RT-PCR testing. Thirty-one cases (26%) were admitted and 22 of those (71%) recovered after receiving oseltamivir. Two deaths were attributed to the 2009 pandemic. One patient died of chronic pulmonary disease. The other cause of death was unknown.
These findings indicate indigenous influenza A (H1N1) transmission, and confirm the urgent need for prevention strategies which specifically target children and young adults, who appear to have a higher risk of infection and hospitalization. Such measures include immunization, improved personal hygiene, and increased ventilation in habitations.
PMCID: PMC2850183  PMID: 20103959
Death certification is a vital source of information used in mortality statistics worldwide to assess the health of the general population. This study focuses on the consistency of information between the death reports and the clinical records (files) of deceased patients in two hospitals: the King Khalid University Hospital (KKUH) and King Fahad National Guard hospital (KFNGH) in Saudi Arabia.
A random sample of the records of 157 deceased patients’ registered in 2002 in the two hospitals was retrospectively reviewed independently to determine the underlying cause of death and compare them with death reports. It was also to check the accuracy of the translation from English in to Arabic.
It was found that the underlying cause of death was misdiagnosed in 80.3% of the death reports. When the two hospitals were compared, no significant difference was observed (p>0.05). In addition, 81.8% of the accurate (correct) death reports in both hospitals were of patients who had died of a malignant disease. However, the translation of the underlying cause of death in KFNGH was correct in 86.1% of the death reports, while in KKUH it was only 25%, which is highly statistically significant (p<0.0001).
With the limitation of studying only a small number of cases, these results indicate a discrepancy between the file and death reports in relation to the cause of death. Also, the translation of the cause of death was inconsistent in the two hospitals. Hence, there is a real need to adopt suitable measures to improve the quality of death certification.
PMCID: PMC3377056  PMID: 23012166
Death certification; Accuracy; Assessment & Death reports

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