MOH News

MOH: Mina's EOC Helped Save Lives of Tens of Stampede Victims
25 September 2015
Ministry of Health (MOH) has a strategy and a detailed plan for providing ambulatory and emergency services, which rely on activating tools for monitoring risk factors; assessment of the requirements for dealing with potential risk; developing detailed plans for each type of emergency.
Working towards that goal, MOH equipped an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Mina Emergency Hospital, which serves as an early alert at times of crisis and disaster. The EOC aims at following up the stages of Hajj and the health service offered to pilgrims, analyzing disaster indicators – Allah forbid - to help the Ministry carry out the emergency and crisis management plans set to prevent disastrous events and curtail damages as much as possible.
MOH supplied the EOC with the state-of-the-art wired and wireless technologies in order that the Ministry leaders could take the right decisions based on valid, accurate, real-time data. The EOC was supplied with 20 fixed and PTZ cameras, 5 main cameras across the Holy Sites (Mina and Arafat), 32 cameras in ER, inpatient, and IC units in Mina Emergency Hospital, 390 wireless communication devices that cover 3 main provinces (Jeddah, Makkah, and Tai'f).
Moreover, all Holy Sites hospitals were linked to control room through video conferencing technology (13 devices) to help MOH leaders hold emergency meetings and discuss situations with all of the Holy Sites healthcare provision sites directors. The technology works via 4 encrypted channels: Emergency, Central Region, First Aid, and Pilgrims Health Services. 
MOH operations room were linked to the Public Security command and control room, the Saudi Red Crescent Authority operations room, Tawafa organizations, Ministry of Hajj, and the Civil Defence operations room.
Within the MOH integrated efforts to handle the Mina stampede incident that occurred on Wednesday, 9th Dhu al-Hijjah 1436 H. The operations room declared an early state of mobilization upon reporting of the incident; EOC was linked to 13 hospitals in the Holy Sites, Makkah via an electronic network to get a report on the number of vacant and occupied beds, especially in ER, and IC units, to facilitate the distribution of the injured cases or those who need medical service to the nearest hospital.
Video walls were divided, using modern technologies to display a combination of statistics along with content from important cameras to the Hajj management team, with options of focusing on a certain program and zooming it in for a closer follow-up. In addition, there is the Smart Business Program to shows statistics of hospitals through Hajj statistical system, which covers all the hospitals in the Holy Sites, Makkah, and Madinah. Health centers' statistics are inputted via digital pens, which allow digital data transmission without referring to paper forms. Video walls also display the content captured by digital cameras monitoring outpatients' movement through important units such as ER; content form vehicle GPS tracking system, which has been transferred on a more advanced server for a better performance. There is also a monitoring system for wired and wireless networks in sites across the Holy Sites, and hospitals in Makkah; to check the network performance and monitor information, data, and communications streaming to the command center at Mina Emergency Hospital.
EOC provides an interactive board with touch screen, that works on a computer system, to display real-time content from vehicle GPS tracking system; electronic fax to quickly refer patients between hospitals in an advanced way, where Hajj management team have a display, through which they can refer cases in a matter of a click without having to sort out and resend fax papers.
This year, MOH carried out several projects and development programs, including developing ambulance tracking through GPS, which tracks ambulances and traffic to direct drivers to the best and less traffic-jammed roads when carrying referred patients to healthcare facilities in or out the Holy Sites. The new GPS system allows the command center supervisors to locate the closest ambulance available to attend to pilgrims on the spot. The new GPS tracking system is used instead of the cellular-network based one, and it covers over 150 ambulances. MOH also developed forecast programs to analyze disaster indicators, which help carry out the preset emergency and crisis management plans.
Mina Emergency Hospital command and control room helped save many victims of the Mina stampede, which left over 700 dead. Huge efforts were exerted in the awake the crush to control the damage and save as many lives as possible. His Excellency the Minister of Health, Eng. Khalid bin AbdulAziz Al-Falih directly oversaw the measures taken in this regard. The EOC of the Mina Emergency Hospital made several achievements, most notably:
  • Announcing the emergency plan for stampede events
  • Directing a fleet of emergency ambulances to the crush scene, with 40 teams from the Armed Forces Hospital, 20 emergency teams from the National Guard Hospital in Mina, 20 emergency teams from the Public Security, 18 emergency teams; each consists of 2 doctors, 4 nurses, totaling 98 medical crews
  • All reserve medical crews were called in hospitals, including night-shifters.
  • Therapeutic services were provided on the field as required.
  • ICUs were equipped to receive cases in stable conditions from ER
  • Makkah and the Holy Sites were supplied with 5000 beds to contain all injured and emergency cases.
  • According to MOH statistics, hospitals' ambulatory units in the Holy Sites, and Makkah received 4119 injured cases, from Thursday, 10th Dhu al-Hijjah 1436 H to Friday, 11th Dhu al-Hijjah 1436, distributed as follows:
    • 2422 injured cases at Mina hospitals
    • 562 cases at Arafat hospitals
    • 1135 injured cases at Makkah hospitals
    • 1688 injured cases were checked into inpatient rooms at all hospitals.
    • 1349 injured cases checked out of hospital after receiving the necessary treatment.
    • 1278 injured cases are still being hospitalized, including inpatients admitted yesterday.
    • Outpatient clinics at hospitals received 10739 cases in the wake of the stampede
    • Primary healthcare centers handled 33006 cases
It's noteworthy that MOH acted in concert with the Civil Defense, the Red Crescent Authority, especially with respect to transferring patients and triage. Also, some hospitals from other government health sectors received many cases.

Last Update : 12 October 2015 10:09 AM
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