MOH News

MOH Provides Holy Sites' Hospitals with 17000 Units of Blood and Blood Products for This Year's Hajj Season
27 August 2015
The Deputy Minister of Health for Laboratories and Blood Banks, and Chairman of Laboratories and Blood Banks Committee in Hajj, Dr. Ibrahim Al Omar, stated in a press conference held two days ago that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has started preparation for this year's Hajj season since the last day of the last year's Hajj season. He pointed out that the Laboratories and Blood Banks Technical Supervisory Committee carried out a three-phase plan: the planning phase, starting from the end of the last year's Hajj season, followed by the preparation phase, and finally the operation phase, starting from Dhul-Qa'dah 15th 1436 H, in which the directors of the laboratories in Makkah begin their duties following the full operation of the laboratories.

Dr. Al Omar clarified that the Laboratories and Blood Banks Committee follows three basic paths, including providing the laboratories in Makkah and the Holy Sites with the laboratory equipments and detectors necessary for detecting diseases and epidemics - Allah forbid - and preparing the laboratories for the ordinary tests for patients and visitors of the hospitals and the health centers in the Holy Sites and Makkah, whilst the second track includes providing the hospitals in the Holy Sites with the blood and blood products. "Due to the large numbers of pilgrims, many patients might need transfusion of blood or blood products. For this reason, MOH is very keen to provide the different blood groups and products they need," Dr. Al Omar said.


Additionally, he said, the third path is concerned with the poison control and forensic medicine chemistry, noting that MOH has prepared the Poison Control and Forensic Medicine Chemistry Center in Makkah to deal with any poisoning cases or any investigations related to doping or drug tests within the framework of "Yaqez" (Vigilant) Program adopted by the Ministry to examine drivers in collaboration with Makkah Principality. The program, which proved to be a success in the last year, aims at making sure that vehicles drivers are not abusing any psychotropic substances in a manner to ensure pilgrims' safety.


In a similar fashion, Dr. Al Omar said that MOH has issued and distributed health regulations to the countries from which the pilgrims come through the Saudi embassies in these countries. These health regulations, he said, are to be adhered to by those willing to perform Hajj, as well as taking the necessary vaccines to ensure that the Hajj is free of any epidemic diseases. In this regard, he added, the laboratories and public health committees are in perfect harmony on the most common diseases and the likeliest to occur during Hajj, to ensure the early and complete preparations for them, in addition to providing sufficient and proper detectives for detecting these diseases. He dubbed this phase the coordination phase, provided that health regulations are fixed for most of the infectious disease before the arrival of pilgrims to the Kingdom.   


Within the same vein, Dr. Al Omar explained that MOH has prepared three laboratories including; the mobile laboratory of East Arafat Hospital (third class), the regional laboratory in Makkah and the regional laboratory in Jeddah, within its comprehensive plan to control and combat Corona Virus provided that the virus examining period will not exceed six hours.


Further, he said that MOH has special public health system and there is a clear protocol to deal with the suspected cases which need to be tested, whereas the health professional must report the suspected MERS-CoV cases directly under the reporting system related to follow-up and treatment program. He added that the role of the laboratory is only a complementary to the series of measures adopted to deal with the suspected cases (examination, isolation, and treatment). However, the cases announced by the ministry shall not be effective unless the examination results are proven to be positive.  


Likewise, Dr. Al-Omar disclosed that the Ministry has recruited specialists in examining infectious diseases to work in these laboratories 24/7 to ensure continuation of the work, and test the samples as quickly as possible to help take decisions in a timely manner, once positive cases are detected.


Dr. Al Omar revealed that there are two plans for the blood banks: one is general to be applied upon the occurrence of emergencies, and another emergency plan concerning the Hajj-related health work. The preparation for the last one starts after the end of the last Hajj season, and it's activated by launching blood donation campaigns starting from the month of Shawal, due to the limited expiration period of blood. He pointed out that the implementation of the plan this year came with the participation of several parties such as (Ministry of Defense, the National Guard, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, University Hospitals) as the required amount of all blood groups and products will be provided, with the addition of a 10% reserve of the needed amounts, as the numbers of the pilgrims and the expected quantity are to be considered.


As per the plan, Dr. Al-Omar said that the provision of blood quantities starts at the beginning of the month Dhul-qa'da, as the needed quantities is sent to the Central Blood Bank in Makkah, along with the specialized refrigerators and the necessary requirements for storing the blood. It's then distributed to the hospitals and health centers in the Holy Sites as per a clear plan.


Similarly, Dr. Al-Omar added that there is a supporting plan through Jeddah, Taif and Makkah provinces, the so-called: "reserve stock", which is received from outside of Makkah. In this regard, 17000 units of blood and blood products will be secured. The important thing here, he said, is not the available balance but the existence of supporting reserve to cover the demand which is estimated by 8000 units to be secured from outside the region when needed as a reserve. He noted that the determination of the needed blood groups takes place in line with the announced international percentages for each group average compared to the other blood groups. He noted that the Ministry will prepare a daily report effective the first day of DhulHijjah, showing the stock and consumed quantities, as 20-25% of these quantities will be consumed. In addition, the surplus blood and its products will be distributed to all regions of the Kingdom at the end of Hajj season.


All the more, Dr. Al-Omar stressed that the Poison Detection Program "Yaqez" is one of the successful programs, as it develops from year to year, involving the Ministry of Health, represented by the Poison Control and Forensic Medicine Chemistry Center in Makkah and Madinah, Makkah Principality and General Cars Syndicate to make sure that bus drivers are not using any narcotics or banned substances endangering pilgrims' safety. He said that the program is implemented randomly at different points. Drivers who show positive testing samples are disqualified as there are reserve drivers.


It's noteworthy that, every year on Dhulhijjah 13th, MOH announces the examined and the disqualified cases. MOH plans to introduce a mobile center for testing drivers this year. In addition, there is the public health laboratory which operates 24/7 to test poison cases that might occur in the holy sites.


Last Update : 31 August 2015 10:38 AM
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