MOH News
Statement on JGH Fire Investigations
13 January 2016
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, the Governor of Jazan Region, has convened a meeting today at his office with His Excellency the Minister of Health, Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Faleh; with a view to discussing the investigation committee's report on the fire that broke out at Jazan General Hospital (JGH) on 24\12\2015 (corresponding to 13/3/1437H).
 
In this regard, HRH has expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased (May Allah have mercy on them). He also praised the courage and dedication of those who risked their lives to save patients during this tragic incident, meanwhile extending his thanks to them for their great spirit of sacrifice.
 
The Committee, set up by the prince to investigate the incident, concluded that it was an accident and there is no criminal suspicion, and it was due to an electrical short circuit in the area of the incubators department on the first floor of the hospital.
 
The investigation also revealed that the hospital staff managed to evacuate all patients on the first floor, which comprises Nursery, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Intensive Care sections. However, the smoke density and escalation to the upper floors ‎ has caused deaths on those floors due to asphyxiation.
 
The main reason for the smoke escalation, which led to the occurrence of deaths, is the existence of geometric errors in the building's ‎design and implementation; as fire isolation segments were not provided on the dropped (or false) ceiling, which might have prevented the spread of smoke from one area to another.
 
The defects in the specifications of the materials used in the building's ceiling, which contained the corks stuffed between the ceilings concrete, may have increased the smoke density. Also, the poor quality of materials used in the top ceiling oxygen's ‎extensions does not meet the correct specifications, the matter which resulted in their melting and increased the fire. The fact that the fire alarm system is not connected to the air-conditioning system had caused the ACs to keep running, thus contributing to increasing the spread of smoke in the building. An auditing is currently underway for all procedures related to the building construction and hand over, that is to be added to the strict statutory actions, which will be taken against all those who proven involved in the poor design and implementation of the building.
 
Furthermore, the investigations found out that none of the emergency doors had been locked nor chained, and consequently they were accessible. However, a defect has been detected in the performance of some safety systems and devices in the hospital, such as fire pumps and alarm system, due to their poor maintenance.
 
The Minister of Health has announced that as it has become clear that there was some kind of negligence by some officials at Jazan Health Affairs Directorate in following up safety matters, thus making them subject to statutory accountability. Hence, the Director General of Jazan Health Affairs Directorate and other officials at the Directorate have been fired from their jobs.
 
In spite of the heroic efforts, shown by most of the hospital's staff during evacuation, there was some kind of negligence has been proven against some of them in handling the incident, thus making them subject to statutory accountability.
 
The investigation showed that the Civil Defense has responded to the incident immediately, but their response and effectiveness were not at the level of the incident, which required additional equipment from other regions in Jazan, the matter which affected dealing with the incident swiftly.
 
Within the same vein, the Governor of Jazan highlighted the importance of providing all safety requirements at the highest levels in the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) facilities, including engineering designs, systems, equipments and staff training, as well as ensuring taking all measures to prevent recurrence of such tragic incident. He also underlined the need to speed up the operation of the hospital, for its vital role in providing health services throughout the region, in addition to the need to provide the bed capacity required for people in this important region of our country, as well as raising the standard of health services there.
 
Besides, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, underscored the need to strengthen the emergency and disasters response plans in the region, provide all its requirements, including equipment and training, and perform the virtual experiments … etc. He also stated that the Emirate of Jazan Region will enhance the operation of its Emergency Center, meanwhile calling upon all concerned government entities in the region to provide the highest level of coordination with the Center. Furthermore, he highlighted the need for all competent government entities in the region, particularly the MOH, to assess the level of safety in their facilities and develop plans to avoid any deficiency or defect that may exist there.
 
For his part, Al-Falih pointed out that the MOH will exert every possible effort to ensure the provision of adequate health services for Jazan region. Moreover, he said the MOH has approved a consulting office to conduct tests, ensure safety of the facility and prepare the required technical specifications within 8 weeks, in an endeavor to repair and restore the hospital, including fire extinguishers, fire alarm networks, and all other safety requirements, as soon as possible. Also, a director of safety and security department will be appointed in the region. The Minister also said that he, accompanied by senior officials in charge of MOH’s projects, paid a field visit inspect the hospitals' projects in Jazan, with a total capacity of 1,050 beds; including the Specialist Hospital, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Al-Darb Hospital and Al ‘Ardah General Hospital. He went on saying that a plan was developed to accelerate the completion of those projects and overcome all the difficulties, so as to finish them as soon as possible, at the highest levels of safety and quality.
 
Furthermore, Al-Falih has underscored that the safety of health facilities comes out on top the MOH's priorities, and three well known international consulting firms have been selected to conduct precise and overall audit for all government health facilities in the Kingdom, in order to ensure their engineering and systems safety,  given that priority will be given to Jazan region. The survey will be completed within 6 months, and the corrective plan will be implemented accordingly. Also, the contracts of safety and security will be separated from the maintenance contracts for all facilities, the matter which will help in the advancement in this aspect.
 
Over and above, the minister has indicated that MOH keeps moving forward with its training program, launched several months ago; to train all employees in the MOH’s facilities on plans of evacuation and dealing with internal disasters. As part of its keenness to provide best services and best international experiences regarding response to emergencies and disasters, the MOH has hired highly qualified national cadres, specialized in dealing with emergencies and disasters. Therefore, disasters plans and mechanism of response and rescue will be reviewed, and training will be conducted on them. According to him, special focus will be given to Jazan region and borders areas,  and a specialized team will commence training the medical and supporting teams in Jazan region on fire extinguishing, evacuation,  dealing with hazardous materials and electrical security and safety next week, Allah Willing.
 
It is worth mentioning that the Governor of Jazan has honored the family of Ibrahim Al-Qolali (May Allah have mercy upon him), who scarified his life to save the hospital's patients, especially lives of ten of them, during the fire. Moreover, Al-Falih, has honored six of the MOH’s employees, who have showed a sacrificial spirit in dealing with the incident, and played a main role in patients' evacuation; including those who were in Incubators, Maternity and ICU Sections. Those employees are Amira Ismael Ismael, Abo Al-Qasim Mohammed Nouhi, Hassan Ali Al-Amir, Nawal Ali Hashim, Maha Hussain Hakami and Nojood Ibrahim Hamoud.
 
 
 
 



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