MOH News
Al-Falih Lauds the King's Recent Decisions, Declares All Health Facilities Ready to Serve Pilgrims
18 September 2015
His Excellency the Minster of Health, Eng. Khaled bin Abdulaziz al-Falih, affirmed that no epidemiological cases have been hitherto reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) since the inception of this Hajj season. In a press conference held today, Thursday, in Makkah, al-Falih lauded the decisions recently taken by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, especially those meant to support the families of martyrs and the injured in the deadly crane collapse at the Meccan Sanctuary. "These are wise and humane decisions that reaffirm the keen interest shown by rulers of this country, led by King Salman, in pilgrims' comfort and tranquility," al-Falih said. "Evidence of such great care is to be found in the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, HRH the Crown Prince and HRH the Deputy Crown Prince to the injured; in order to check on their health, and give orders to ensure all that's necessary for their cure and comfort."

During the press conference, attended by Hamad al-Duweila', the Vice Minister, as well as an elite of MOH deputies and senior staff, Eng. al-Falih mentioned that, by now, all MOH hospitals and health facilities in Makkah, Madinah and the Holy Sites are fully ready to serve pilgrims. "The Ministry has equipped and developed several health facilities to offer health services for pilgrims wherever they are, since their arrival into the Kingdom through to their safe departure," he said. 

According to the Minister, MOH is rigorously enforcing the preset health requirements at all land, sea and air-ports, in an effort to prevent the entry of any infectious diseases – Allah forbid! Furthermore, pilgrims can benefit from the advanced preventive and curative services, including major surgeries, offered by the Ministry at its high-standard hospitals and health centers. Al-Falih pointed out that this comes at the direction of the Rulers, who set as their target making health care of all types available for pilgrims.  

The Minister touched upon the current state of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). He explained the measures taken by the Ministry to control the disease, and protect pilgrims against it. Al-Falih stated that there was an increased incidence of MERS-CoV outbreak since last August, owing to the outbreak that took place in King Abdulaziz Medical City, of the National Guard.

"In August, 141 infected cases were reported, most of which are related to the current outbreak, only in Riyadh. I'd like to note that the number of cases related to the outbreak has been significantly plummeting over the past weeks. At some point of the outbreak we had about 70 inpatient cases; now the number is 40 inpatients," said His Excellency the Minister of Health.  

As for the situation in Madinah, Eng. Al-Falih stated that there are 7 infected cases, most of which are related to the Riyadh outbreak. He said that MOH has transferred those in fair condition outside Madina, away from Hajj zones, pointing out that no MERS-CoV cases among pilgrims have been reported so far, Thank Allah. 

The minister went on to say, "MOH made sure to prevent the occurrence of MERS-CoV primary cases, which get infected as a result of contact with camels, by banning camels from Hajj zones altogether. The concerned authorities complied and enforced the ban,"

With regard to prevention of secondary cases, in which the infection passes from one person to another, Al-Falih maintained that all people who were in contact with confirmed positive cases, have been identified, followed upon and banned from Hajj until the follow-up period is over. Moreover, there is an on-ongoing surveillance of respiratory infection; intensive measures are adopted for fast identification, grouping, and quarantining of suspected cases. When cases are confirmed positive, they are transferred out of the Holy Sites hospitals. Laboratory diagnosis is made available in Mina, Arafat, Madinah, and the Holy City of Makkah.  

Al-Falih noted that hospitals in Makkah, Madinah, the Holy Sites, are fully equipped to deal with suspected cases; all hospitals provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and isolation respiratory rooms. During the conference, the minister and his crew answered a number of questions for the local and international press. 

It's noteworthy that the MOH International Relations General Department organized a tour for the press before the conference, which included East Arafat Hospital, Jabal Al Rahmah Hospital, and Healthcare Center No. 20 in Arafat. The press members were accompanied by Dr. Emad Aljahdali, Head of Hajj Preparatory Committees at MOH, Dr. Faisal Al-Zahrani, Director-general of the International Relations General, and the Head of Media Committee at MOH, and a number of the Ministry and health sector officials. The tour shed light on the medical and therapeutic services offered to pilgrims at MOH hospital and healthcare centers across the Holy Sites, and Makkah, as well as, the MOH projects and massive developments. The press members were also given an overview of the latest advanced medical equipment introduced to surgery, IC, and ER units, which is of the same caliber of equipment used at the top medical centers in the world. Despite the fact that those health facilities work for a couple of days each year, huge efforts have been made, which attest to remarkable dedication.

During the tour, Al-Zahrani proclaimed that the total number of MOH hospitals in Mina and Arafat amounts to 8, which are fully equipped with the latest developments, while the number of healthcare centers (class A, B, and C) exceeds 120.  Healthcare centers are distributed across the Holy Sites (Mina, Arafat, and Muzdaalifah), so that their medical crews could provide service to pilgrims on site without having to transfer the patient to hospital. 

Al-Zahrani noted that MOH has allotted 180 highly-equipped ambulances of different sizes to serve pilgrims at the overcrowded sites, such as Jamaraat Bridge, to treat pilgrims of sunstroke or any kind of injuries that may take place. He went on to indicate that MOH has also directed its hospitals in the Holy City, at King Abdullah Medical City, and Nour Hospitals, to work at full capacity and dedicate its medical, technical, and administrative human resources to provide pilgrims with the ultimate comfort and care. Those cadres work along the seconded resources, which gathered from all over KSA, to serve pilgrims (over 1mn pilgrims as of yesterday) in the Holy Sites. 

 



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