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Saudi to build new mental health and addiction hospital

Minister of Health Khaled Al-Falih said the new hospital is to be built in cooperation with SABIC in east Riyadh

Published: Updated:

The Minister of Health on Tuesday signed a contract with SABIC to open a new mental health and addiction hospital in Riyadh, Al-Hayat reported.

SABIC Chairman Prince Saud Bin Abdullah Bin Thunayyan said the hospital project costs $80 million (SR300 million). He said: “SABIC believes in the health sector as one of the pillars holding society.

That is why SABIC focuses on health sector projects as part of its corporate social responsibility. “One of SABIC’s most supported cause is addictions.

Addiction does not only ruin the addict but also the society around him.” He said SABIC has a five-year contract with the National Anti-Drugs Committee to help addicts recover and become productive members of society.

“SABIC’s plan is to provide a comprehensive program for addicts to return to society. “Before contracting with the ministry to build the SABIC Mental Health and Addiction Hospital, we contracted with the national committee to initiate Nibras, a program to raise awareness about the negative effects of drugs on the individual and society.”

He added with a budget of $13 million (SR50 million) SABIC is sure to reach all layers of society. “After the patient becomes aware that he needs help, he will then seek the SABIC Mental Health and Addiction Hospital for help.

“We will also be contracting with the ministry to build specialized clinics for addicts offering rehabilitation programs before they are released back into society.”

Minister of Health Khaled Al-Falih said the new hospital is to be built in cooperation with SABIC in east Riyadh, as the capital has the highest number of addicts.

He said: “The ministry is well aware of the shortage of available beds for patients especially in mental hospitals.

“By implementing SABIC Hospital project, we will have 23 mental health hospitals and 85 specialized clinics in the Kingdom.”

He admitted health centers in neighborhoods have been neglected. “I promise to pay more attention to health centers from now on so we will not face a shortage of beds.

“In the past year alone, there were 22,000 inmates in mental health hospitals and 500,000 patients.” He added the ministry is also looking into health insurance in the public sector.

“There are 9 million people on health insurance in the Kingdom, but only 3 million of them are Saudi. “The ministry will be working on facilitating health insurance for Saudis.”

This story was originally reported on the Saudi Gazette on May 28, 2015.