Saudi Arabia & Finland up joint efforts in infection prevention by signing the latest MOU

Indoor hygiene, in other words, infection prevention with a built environment, is a new solution for preventing and controlling infections. The Indoor Hygiene Guidelines and solutions, together with new antimicrobial materials, can offer innovative ideas to transmission-prevention measures and enable sustainable investments in building healthier structures that host large groups of people such as schools, airports, and Smart cities in general.

In the spirit of the 2017 MOU between both the Saudi and Finnish Ministries of Health, a knowledge transfer has been growing between the two nations in the Medical field and the IHMEC project is an essential part of that. This IHMEC project is based on the cooperation between researchers and companies from Finland, Sweden and Estonia, to provide new innovative material and design concepts to proactively break the infection chain. The abbreviation IHMEC comes from the words “indoor hygiene solutions to the Middle East construction market”.

In 2019, Finnish institutions presented innovative Indoor Hygiene concepts at the Jeddah “Patient Safety Summit” upon the invitation from the Saudi Ministry of Health. Furthermore, in the same year, a visit by a delegation of 50 healthcare and industrial experts from 22 Saudi institutions took place in Helsinki. A further knowledge-exchange was built on Saudi Arabia’s vast patient safety experience among mass gatherings and infection control.

As a result, a new partnership was born, where in 2020, the first implementation of IHMEC concepts was carried out by Al-Dawaa Medical Services in the novel field of Innovative Hygiene Solutions in Saudi Arabia, making Saudi Arabia the 1st global partner to implement the IHMEC concept country-wide outside of Finland.

According to AlDawaa Director of Business Development, Mr. Fahad AlfarrahDuring 2020, we realized the importance of innovative solutions and international collaboration to assist in tackling any future pandemic. Al Dawaa Medical Services Company sees this initiative as a national mission”.  It is due to this common objective that the University of Turku (the lead partner in the E.U. Regional Development Fund project) utilized Internationalization Expert Mr. Ibrahim Al-Mafdali Al-Zahrani in facilitating the Saudi Market entry long before the Covid-19 crisis began; through the creation of hands-on exchanges and communication channels between local scientists and stakeholders alike.

Signing ceremony, from the left HE Ambassor of Finland Antti Rytövuori, Mr. Ibrahim Al-Mafdali Al-Zahrani and Mr. Fahad Alfarrah

Consequently, Wednesday, Dec 16th, marked the MOU Signature between Al-Dawaa medical services company and the University of Turku in Finland & Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Both parties agreed to increase scientific relations within the field of infection prevention via indoor hygiene, including scientific support in applying the Indoor Hygiene Solutions concept and innovative solutions and increasing knowledge transfer between both countries.

The Signing Ceremony took place at the Finnish embassy in Riyadh, where H.E. Ambassador of Finland, Mr. Antti Rytövuori, awarded four Saudi scientists on behalf of the Finnish universities; for their scientific contribution in transferring knowledge between both countries in public health safety and infection prevention.

In light of these developments, four major hospitals in Saudi Arabia have already agreed to adopt IHMEC’s groundbreaking concepts and solutions. This crucial step represents only the first of many to come, with promising initiatives for enhancing nation-wide wellbeing through future collaborations in the fields of research, innovation, and technology. 

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