Saudi Arabia supports ‘Global Innovation Hub’ to tackle pandemics

Saudi Arabia supports investment in a Global Innovation Hub to aid in the fight against COVID-19 and promote preparation against potential future pandemics, the new minister of health, Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel, has said.

The Kingdom’s strategy came after G20 health ministers recently met to better coordinate global health efforts. Al-Jalajel told the Saudi Press Agency that the Kingdom, under the leadership of King Salman, has made “significant contributions” and “supported global stability, economic balance, and the overcoming of many obstacles.”

He said that the Kingdom promoted the establishment of the Global Innovation Hub and the building of high-level partnerships, adding that the G20 last year established a one-year digital health working group to harness the potential of digital health solutions to standardize pandemic responses.

Al-Jalajel said that health ministers exchanged their experiences and discussed the need to raise the effectiveness of global health systems by sharing knowledge and bridging health gaps around the world.

Raising the level of pandemic preparedness, the importance of employing digital solutions in pandemics, the significance of enhancing value in health systems and addressing antibiotic-resistant germs are some of the talking points that the G20 presidency and Saudi Arabia are now discussing.

The health minister said that one of the most important topics of the year is mental health amid the pandemic, adding that the Kingdom remains supportive of World Health Organization efforts in that regard.

He said that the most important topics featured at the G20 Riyadh Summit would also be addressed at the Italy Summit, which began on Oct. 30. These include supporting access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tools, and continuous investment in promoting preventive health to achieve universal health coverage.

The Saudi strategy to establish the Global Innovation Hub will also play a key role in summit discussions.