RIYADH — More than a thousand Filipino nurses from 50 different public and private hospitals in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia participated in the first nursing convention held at Holiday Inn Hotel in Dhahran on July 6.
With the support and help of the Philippine Embassy, especially Labor Attaché Adam Musa, the newly formed Philippine Nurses Association–Eastern Region (PNA-ERSA) worked tirelessly for months to organize the convention.
Philippine officials in Saudi Arabia who attended the convention included Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago and Labor Attaché Adam Musa. Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) National President Noel Cadete and Dr. Carmencita Abaquin, chairperson of the Philippine Regulatory Commission Board of Nursing specially flew from the Philippines to the Kingdom for the convention.
Dr. Mohammad Al-Harithy, represented Dr. Saleh Mohammad Al Salhi, the general directorate of Health Affairs with the Saudi Ministry of Health for the Eastern Province. With the theme “Exploring New Challenges toward a Competitive Global Nursing Workforce,” the convention intended to help Filipino nurses improve their knowledge and skills and share best practices in current global trends of health care.
In his keynote address, Tago emphasized the critical role of Filipino nurses in the different health care facilities in the Kingdom. He added that nurses are highly demanded by Saudi nationals as well as expatriates and their employers.
Tago encouraged all the Filipino nurses to actively take part in the various activities of PNA-ERSA and the embassy by utilizing the social networks.
He also thanked the Kingdom under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz for the employment opportunities granted to Filipinos, especially those in the medical field and health care services.
The ambassador also asked the PNA and Filipinos in general to help promote the Philippines as a tourism destination with their colleagues and friends, citing the new tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” which was launched recently.
Saudi Ministry of Health official Dr. Mohammad Al Harithy expressed his admiration for the competence, professionalism and hard work of the Filipino nurses.
The evening also witnessed the renewal of pledge of fidelity to the ideals of nursing profession, a discussion on the relevant topics related to nursing and a presentation of the nominees. The winner of the Florence Nightingale Awards 2012 was also awarded and the participants were given certificates.
Also in attendance were the Director General of Mohammad Dossary Hospital, Abdul Fettah Ennayal, represented the employers, PNA-ERSA Adviser Eduardo Nicdao and Oscar Martinez, Philippine Professional Organization President Orlando Caranto and Filipino businessman and community leader Dr. Richard B Joseph. — SG