Monday 9 September 2013

A memo to the Saudi Minister of Health...

Crawford Kilian has written a memo to Abdullah Abdulaziz M. Al Rabeeah, MD, Minister of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

It is brilliant. 

Please read the entire thing. I have an excerpt below, but it is only a fragment of the whole glorious piece.

Your government, Minister, is now risking a similar problem. Both medical experts and the media are growing impatient at the erratic flow of information on MERS, and I hear rumours that Saudi hospital staff are as alarmed as those in Canadian hospitals afflicted with SARS ten years ago. And well they might be, when this virus seems to thrive in healthcare settings.

An aggressive, open communication policy is now urgently called for. Rather than indulge in a litany of past problems, I would like to recommend some steps your ministry could take right now to ease concerns around the world while also ensuring solid support from Saudi professionals and public. 1. Frame a detailed, standard format for reporting each case. At a minimum, this should include:

1. Frame detailed, standard format for reporting each case
At a minimum, this should include:
  • the age, gender, and occupation of the patient;
  • mention of specific underlying medical conditions, if any;
  • place and date of onset;
  • a description of treatment and place of treatment;
  • the specific relationship, if any, to previous cases;
  • tests administered and results of those tests;
  • if possible, a statement by a Ministry spokesperson putting this case in the context of recent events.

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