RIYADH, Apr 15: The Council of Ministers yesterday decided to expand the Kingdom’s premarital medical test program, adding new tests for contagious diseases such AIDS and Hepatitis B & C, Culture and Information Minister Iyad Madani said.
He said the weekly Cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, also emphasized Saudi Arabia’s rejection of foreign and regional dominance on some Arab countries.
“The Cabinet decided to develop the premarital medical test program in order to maintain a healthy marriage,” Madani told the Saudi Press Agency.
The Cabinet decided to implement the program in phases with the first phase beginning this fiscal year. During the first two years, the service will be made available at all centers in the Kingdom. The Cabinet estimated the total number of Saudis who marry every year at about 250,000.
The meeting instructed the centers to use modern technology for tests and establish electronic linkage with the Health Ministry and other departments.
King Abdullah briefed the ministers on the outcome of his recent talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm El-Sheikh and with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade in Riyadh.
The Cabinet reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for Arab causes and interests to ensure security, stability and development of the region.
“It emphasized the Kingdom’s principled stands... that challenges the dangers that have encircled some Arab states, threatening their national unity and subjecting them to foreign and regional dominance aimed at changing their demographic structure,” Madani said quoting the Cabinet.
The Cabinet said Saudi Arabia would continue to support and activate institutions for joint Islamic work. “The Kingdom also works for preserving the world economic order, serving the interests of all countries,” it added.
The Cabinet emphasized the need to supply clean energy sources without affecting basic sources of food in the world and necessities for its people. It also called for protecting oil prices from speculation and taxation systems that increase its price.
The Cabinet meeting also backed the recent statement made by King Abdullah stressing the need for keeping part of the Kingdom’s oil and other natural resources for future generations.
Further, the meeting looked into the problems facing Saudis abroad.
It also decided that private sector employees suffering from kidney failure should be given one-day paid leave for the day the employee undergoes dialysis, as is the case with government employees and that the costs should be borne by the Manpower Development Fund. Such leaves may be provided on the basis of medical reports.
The Cabinet authorized the finance minister to sign a draft protocol for preferential tariff scheme to promote trade between OIC member countries, in coordination with the Gulf Cooperation Council. It also decided to renew the agreement with Egypt for cooperation in veterinary services.