MOH News
Dr. Al-Rabeeah Meets the International HPA Delegation to Prompt the Establishment of a Mass-gathering Medicine Center
05 March 2013
His Excellency the Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah Bin AbdulAziz Al–Rabeeah, has recently had a meeting at his office in the MOH Headquarter in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Public Health, Dr. Ziad Memish, with Dr. David Heymann, Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Health Protection Agency (HPA), and the delegation accompanying him. The delegation included Professor of Infectious Diseases and International Health at University College London, Alimuddin Zumla, and HPA Regional Director, Prof. Brian McCloskey.
 
During the meeting, they discussed various topics such as all international and professional steps to prompt launching the Mass-gathering Medicine Center in the Kingdom recently approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, according to the most precise health standards like cooperation in international scientific and training research fields related to mass medicine and public health.
 
The Minister of Health expressed the Ministry’s keen interest to improve mass medicine as it is essentially associated with pilgrims’ health during Hajj and Umrah seasons.
 
For his part, Prof. David Heymann asserted that the Kingdom is considered a pioneer in the field of mass-gathering medicine and population medicine due to its wide expertise and capability of overcoming so many health problems resulting from infectious diseases spreading through human agglomerations. Furthermore, the Kingdom overcame diarrheal diseases that were treated by sanitation improvement; meningitis, poliomyelitis and H1N1 were treated by vaccination requests to Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. Therefore, the world has to learn from the Kingdom’s experience in combating man-to-man transmission of infection, pointing out that there is still more to be done to protect pilgrims.
 
Heymann added that in order to evaluate the success of the Hajj health program of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there is a need to check on the health status of the returnees of Hajj if they were in a good health status free from any infectious diseases; that no cases of infectious diseases were registered such as meningitis or such diseases to any pilgrims. That is for the purpose of implementing the mandatory preventive procedure for Hajj and Umrah Pilgrims. He indicated that such preventative procedures can be implemented in all human gatherings and agglomerations around the world.
 
Prof. Alimuddin Zumla stated that mass-gathering medicine deals with any big human agglomeration that occurs in a certain period of time; which provides a proper environment for the disease transmission between the two communities as in the case of Hajj period or International Olympics. He declared that the Kingdom has a wide experience in reducing the propagation of infectious and non-infectious diseases such as diabetes that affects adults, females and kids.
 
He added that, under the leadership of Dr. Abdullah al-Rabeeah and Dr. Ziad Memish, they endeavor to effect and confirm the Kingdom’s leadership in mass-gathering medicine in the world by training Saudi cadres on this medical domain at the level of master's and PhD degrees in order to lead the world regarding that field. He pointed out that 100 master’s students and 40-50 PhD students will be admitted and prepared to take the lead in the future. Moreover, he added that this is an opportunity for the Kingdom to lead the world in the field of mass-gathering medicine; which means that pilgrims will be safer in the future and the Kingdom will be dealing with health problems not only in crowd medicine field, but in other public health fields.
 
 



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