The chairperson of Poison Control Department Ph.Najla Khojah, Consultant Poison Information specialist at King Fahad Medical City, stated that the department has recently launched an immediate consultation service for KFMC patients and employees in poisoning cases around the clock and throughout the year through a direct hotline. The service is mainly about giving the appropriate treatment plan to each poisoning case by certified specialists in clinical toxicology and referring some of the cases to the nearest emergency room if necessary. Pointing out that this will be a first step to generalize the benefit outside KFMC.
"The toxic substances are around us everywhere, some of them are dangerous for being misused such as some medications and chemicals substances; and some of which are poisonous by its nature such as pesticides, poisonous plants, reptiles and snakes bites. As the percentage of poisoning cases is extremely high due to lack of adequate awareness of the optimal and positive use of the substances and tools around us, therefore, making the health education is an urgent need when dealing with medications, chemicals substances around us,etc. KFMC Poison Control Department have been continuously organizing several awareness programs for the public inside and outside the hospital" Ph.Khojah said.
Ph. Najla Khojah added "KFMC has a unique Clinical Poison Control Department with an integrated teamwork of Saudi toxicologists, including emergency physicians, pharmacists, technicians and trainees, so that the work can go smoothly, in the presence of a toxicology lab , monitoring program for cases and antidote drugs around the clock, which represents a model based on international standards and performance indicators".
"The importance of Poison Control Department lies in several therapeutic aspects, the most important of which is enabling parents, in particular, to contact the hotline from home if their children swallowed poisonous substance, wrong dose and other cases that needs immediate therapeutic advices based on evidences and approved therapeutic protocols. Regarding the prevention principle, the most important duties of Poison Control Department are educating the public about the daily risks and how to prevent them. This is done on the basis of national statistics to identify the sources of the problem. Furthermore, the Poison Control Department are the only link point for the General Administration for safety of chemicals and hazardous wastes, General Directorate of Narcotics Control, Saudi Customs, Ministry of Commerce and Investment, Saudi Standards Metrology and Quality Organization, Saudi Food and Drug Authority and other government sectors that need the reports from a specialized and approved national poison center. Thus, KFMC is distinguished, represented by the Clinical Poison Control Department, as a unique model for integrated service in the field of poison "she added.
Ph. Khojah explained that one of the objectives of KSA Vision 2030, represented by the Ministry of Health, is to improve and maintain the provided care through the National E-Health Strategy, privatization of health services and skills development. Poison centers are very effective in the achievement of this objective, in terms of both therapeutic and prevention aspects; especially that they increase the awareness level and communication opportunities. As they reduce the emergency visits, strengthen the principle of primary care and remote diagnosis. Therefore, the existence of a clinical referenced national center that provides relevant statistics, globally listed and based on a database that serves monthly reports, researches and studies will be the core of success for all similar services primarily concerned with the citizen's health ".