MOH News
Dr. Khojah: the Kingdom Is an International Reference Mecca for the Mass-Gathering Medicine
18 September 2013

The Director-General of the Executive Board of the Council of Health Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dr. Tawfiq bin Ahmed Khojah has praised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's hosting and organizing of the international conference on the impact of mass gathering over public health. It is currently being held from Dhu al-Qa'dah 15th to 17th, 1434h, corresponding to September twenty-first to twenty third, 2013, in Riyadh; under the royal auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, may Allah protect him, along with the attendance and participation of the Arab League Secretary-general, his Excellency the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),  the Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO); Dr. Margaret Chan, some health ministers of the GCC states, the United States of America, France, Cuba, Canada, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia, and South Korea; added in members of the World Advisory Council , some Arab states, and a host of the directors of the relevant regional and international organizations. Moreover, more than 35 scientists and experts, the world over, are to take part in the conference. And while this conference is being convened, the World Mass-Gathering Medicine Center is to be inaugurated, with the attendance of their Excellency the ministers and a constellation of scientists and experts from all over the world.


Meanwhile, he pointed out that the aim of holding this conference is to review the experiment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season for its being one of a kind, bearing in mind that it attends to more than two million Hajj performers in  a specific geographical and time scope. This in turn holds it up as an example to be emulated.


He went on adding that "Allah has singled out the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the honor of serving the Hajj performers, and the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, HRH the Crown Prince, and HRH the Second Deputy, may Allah protect them, is keen to harness all its capabilities to provide the best services and care to the Hajj performers in all fields, of which are the health services provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to the Hajj performers. These services have made impressive strides in terms of quantity, kind, and quality through advanced preventive, ambulatory, and curative system, and supervisory, medical, technical, and supportive labor force enjoying a high level of efficiency and training; under the prudent leadership and management of his Excellency the Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz A;-Rabeeah; pointing to graduating the first batch specialized on the Mass-Gathering Medicine, standing as the nucleus of the Mass-Gathering Medicine and Disasters Program, which is considered among the rare specialties, if not the sole specialty all over the world. It is concerned with the health services in the big gatherings such as the Hajj (pilgrimage), festivals, sporting activities, as well as the swift response in case of disasters and health problems."


All the same, the Ministry for Health (MOH), with all its bodies and sectors included, works, all year round, on providing the health care to the Hajj and Umrah performers at the highest level, in spite of the hard circumstances materialized in the existence of huge number of hajj performers on a limited of area of land, and over short time span. This in turn is instrumental in speeding the spread of infection and raising the accident and injury rate resulting from crowd. Most of Hajj performers are older people to the extent that their ages are more than fifty years. Further, some Hajj performers are suffering from health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and cardiac diseases among others, as well as the nationality, language, custom, and culture differences. Adding in the ever-changing climate conditions, a thing renders the hajj performers vulnerable to sunstroke and heat exhaustion in summer, and pneumonitis and cold in winter; leading to the rise of numbers of those frequenting the health facilities, and an increase in the numbers of inpatients. He went on pointing out that the Kingdom's Hajj and Umrah experiment, and the way of efficiently dealing with these occasions in terms of preparing for them, coordinating with all the relevant bodies, coping with all events, using detection and control means, being on the alert for health emergency, among others, have registered a howling success, and efficiency that has been underlined by the annual health indicators, annually issued by the kingdom, to which all have borne witness."


He highly regarded the idea of this conference which is held for the second time in the region, making clear that with a view to the population tendency to moving for the urban areas all over the world, in light of the globalization, global economy emancipation, and tremendous economic and social upheaval, especially in the developing countries; leading to great impact on the national and global development patterns which will inevitably change policies in all states. And if taken into account that the mass gatherings development and urban management have become among the highly-prioritized challenges for the international community and the United Nations (UN), then the mass gatherings development requires the healthy planning to prepare cities in a manner that helps make sure of the air and water safety and get rid of the waste and noise, as well as other man-made risks."  

He went on saying that "this entails paying more attention to the housing problems and its quality, providing the healthy housing, overcoming problems of the homeless, land managment measures of the urban planning, and means of transportation and communication as part of governmental, inclusive, and innovative policies, reiterating that the great importance of this conference is embodied in training on the managing and developing of the mass gatherings, qualifying the human resources necessary for that, having the community and non-governmental organizations participate in funding and establishing the infrastructure, preserving the environmental resources and protecting them; drawing on the renewable energy resources in fast-pacing urban world, and supporting initiatives of the health cities."

All the more, he made clear that "this conference creates a golden opportunity for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states of displaying their experience and experiments in this regard, as the GCC states are old hand at that respect; whether in terms of the amount of arrival workforcerecruiting in those states, the home-based workforce, or all workforce types, and all what is related to that in terms of procedures taken in consistency with the announcements issued regarding the mass gatherings."

In drawing his statement to a close, Director-General of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers Council has commended the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, for the work of this conference. This in turn materializes the outlook and the in-depth vision adopted by our dear Kingdom in terms of holding such world conferences, which are regarded as an opportunity of capitalizing on the world experience of the relevant international organizations. He has further lauded the strenuous efforts exerted by the Saudi Ministry for Health, spearheaded by his Excellency the Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, with regard to the preparation and arrangement for hosting this conference, praying Allah, the Almighty, that the its outcomes stand as motive for more development and health services upgrading in our dear, giving country.

 

 

 




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