Saudi health ministry reshuffle sees the first appointment of women assistant undersecretary
The Saudi Ministry of Health announced a major cabinet reshuffle in Riyadh Monday in a bid to promote quality of improvement in diverse patient services.
The new restructuring plan was directed by Health Minister Dr. Abdullah al-Rabeeah and was made in accordance to the directions of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who has shown a keen interest in enhancement of heath care services across the kingdom.
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khalid al-Mirghalani told Arab News on Monday that according to the new structure, there will only be two deputy ministers under the health minister. “This is the first time that such a scheme has been introduced,” he said.
Dr. Mansour bin Nasser Hawasi was appointed as a deputy minister for health affairs, while Dr. Mohammed bin Hamza Khoshaim will be the new deputy minister for planning and development. The new structure includes three undersecretaries, and seven assistant undersecretaries and one of them is a woman.
Dr. Muneera bint Hamdan al-Osaimi, who has been appointed the new assistant undersecretary for medical services affairs department, has become the first Saudi woman to hold such a key portfolio and position within the inner circle of the health ministry.
Osaimi told Al-Watan newspaper that the position needs the most qualified person for the job regardless of gender. “Society has been governed by traditional and conservative views in regards to women holding certain positions, nowadays through such appointments, we are reproducing traditional women’s roles in new fields and among different professions,” she added.