MOH News
Dr. Sendi on Pilgrims' Health Status: “So Far, So Good!”
05 October 2014
The deputy chairman of the MOH Command and Control Center, Dr. Anees Sendi, stated that pilgrims' health status is stable and reassuring: “so far, so good,” he said. According to Dr. Sendi, no infectious or epidemic diseases have been detected to date. Likewise, no confirmed Corona cases, nor suspected Ebola cases, have been reported either. “As such,” he said, “there is nothing to worry about when it comes to epidemic diseases.”
 
In a press conference held today in Mina Emergency Tower, Dr. Sendi made clear that pilgrims receive health services of supreme quality. In this spirit, 903 dialysis sessions have been conducted, in addition to 11 open-heart surgeries, 277 catheterizations, 50 gastrointestinal endoscopy operations, aside from a relatively few deliveries.
 
Dr. Sendi emphasized that the Ministry keeps a close eye on every single suspected epidemic case, be it inside health utilities or even in camps, and addresses it as if it were a confirmed case until it is proved otherwise. To that end, the Ministry takes rigorous preventive measures, in an endeavor to ensure safety to everyone. In this spirit, a full-fledged epidemiological surveillance campaign has been launched, utilizing a mobile lab able to come up with the results of specimen tests in no more than 6 hours. “To date, 134 suspected Corona cases amidst pilgrims have been reported, none of which proved positive; not to forget the suspected pneumonia cases which the Ministry attaches great attention as well,” he added.
 
Speaking of how suspected cases are addressed, Sendi explained: “Preparations had started right before the outset of the Hajj season; training courses have been organized for health professionals, and all health centers have been to report any suspected Corona or Ebola cases via the MOH hotline. Besides, there are two teams working around the clock (24/7) at the Command and Control Center: one for providing guidelines on how to address cases, and the other follow up the existing cases and their transfer to a proper health utility.
 
” He further expounded, “On receiving a call indicating that a suspected has been detected, the Center instantly dispatches an expeditionary team to put preventive measures into effect, and transfer the patient to one of the centers specialized in treating such cases, in addition to monitoring the health status of the patient as well as those in contact with him/her; both the family members and the camp fellows.”
 
Moving on to speak about beds at the Holy Sites' hospitals, and how busy they are, Sendi was quoted as saying, “There is a control room at Mina Emergency Hospital responsible for following up beds, and taking over the coordination necessary to properly distribute patients on hospitals.
 
” He went on emphasizing that there is close cooperation with the medical missions, in addition to joint simulations aimed to address medical contingencies. “As a matter of fact,” he added, “35 simulations had been conducted prior to the outset of the Hajj season in the hospitals of the Holy Sites, Makkah and Madinah. Furthermore, coordination and collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) are underway, in order to ensure that no person with Corona or Ebola symptoms will arrive in the Kingdom. In the meantime, screening is ongoing at all ports of entry.”
 
Dr. Sendi revealed, over and above, that certain hospitals have been appointed to address Ebola, as well as confirmed Corona cases, in Makkah, Madinah, and the Kingdom's other regions and provinces.
As regards the MOH's preparation for the anticipated congestion associated with 'stoning' (jamaraat throwing) rite, he stated, “We are fully ready, Allah willing, to handle any contingencies, especially when it comes heat exhaustion, etc. Supplies are abundant, and calibers are qualified enough to overcome contingencies.”
 
As for the role of the MOH Command and Control Center in this year's Hajj season, he underscored that it is an indivisible part from the Hajj Committees and the other MOH sectors which spare no effort to best serve the 'guests of Allah' (pilgrims). “Efforts are consolidated for the benefit of pilgrims,” he affirmed. “Combating infectious diseases comprises this year's major concern, especially Corona and Ebola, with a view to controlling infection transmission. And for this purpose the Center collaborates with the Hajj Committees seeking to consolidate effort in this area.”
 
“The Center was founded a few ago,” he continued. “It is established and equipped according to the same standards adopted in analogous world centers, as per the directions of His Excellency the Acting Minister of Health upon giving his orders to set the center up. It is noteworthy that a WHO representative is daily present at the Center, which aims to attract high-profile experts, in collaboration with international health organizations.”
 
So far as the Center's research activity is concerned, Dr. Sendi pointed out that the Center is working on “long-term and short-term research, in an effort to discover how to best address contingencies – Allah forbid! Moreover, following the Hajj season, the Center is expected to embark on a set of studies, including a study to investigate the potential risks in the forthcoming Hajj seasons, given the fact that they will occur in summer.” 
 



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