MOH News

Dr. Tawfiq Khoja Commends the Kingdom's Efforts in Serving Pilgrims
02 November 2011
   Dr. Tawfiq bin Ahmed Khoja, Director-General of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers Council has said that the Hajj season is a unique experience in the world occurring every year, applauding the extraordinary efforts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in this great Hajj occasion.
Dr. Tawfiq Khoja added, Allâh Almighty has honored the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with serving pilgrims, and the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and his Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz  - May Allah protect them – is keen to harness the enormous potential to provide the best services for pilgrims in all fields. He explained, the health services provided by the Ministry of Health for pilgrims have witnessed a quantum leap in terms of quantity, type and quality, through a preventive, ambulatory and curative system, in addition to high skilled medical staff, under the wise leadership of the Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, which made the Saudi health services appreciated by the international community and a role model.
Dr. Khoja stressed that the Ministry of Health is working with all levels and sectors over the year to provide health care for the pilgrims at the highest level despite the difficult conditions, such as a) the presence of large numbers of pilgrims in a limited area of land, leading up to the rapid prevalence of infection and high rate of accidents and injuries caused by traffic congestion, b) the fact that the majority of pilgrims are aged (over fifty), c) some suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, among many other diseases, d) the diversity of nationalities, languages, traditions and cultures, e) climactic changes (hot environments may result in heat exhaustion and sunstrokes and cold environments may result in a variety of respiratory infections and flu), and f) increasing the number of inpatients and outpatients.
The Director-General of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers Council lauded the excellent health care services and the accompanying significant increase in diagnostic, therapeutic and clinical services, in light of the steady increase in the number of pilgrims from one year to another.
Dr. Khoja expounded that the Ministry of Health is keen to develop accurate plans that would suit this great occasion in Muslim's life, taking place in the most sacred place in the whole world, pointing out that these plans will be developed based on extensive study of the pros and cons of last season.
Khoja also praised the role of other health sectors that support the health services provided by the Kingdom for the pilgrims, including the National Guard, the Security Forces, the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Hajj, the Ministry of Water and Electricity, the Commission for Development of Makkah, Madinah and the Holy Sites, and other relevant bodies serving pilgrims.
Dr. Tawfiq Khoja said, the Ministry of Health is seeking, through the slogan "Pilgrims' Health is our Concern" to provide high-quality health services during the Hajj season according to an integrated and comprehensive plan for preventive, curative and emergency services, in addition to the intensification of health awareness campaigns, in accordance with specific and distinct plans and programs.
Khoja reviewed some of the efforts and potential that have already been made by the Ministry during the Hajj season 1432H, including a) assigning more than 20,000 participants of the medical, technical and administrative categories of from all the Kingdom's regions to implement the operational plan of the Ministry of Health, b) adding a variety of services and programs, both preventive, curative and emergency, c) attracting 441 physicians and technicians with rare specialties to support health facilities in the Holy City, Makkah, as well as the sacred places and Madinah, and d) modernizing medical and non-medical equipment with a value of 50 million riyals through the replacement and development of all intensive care devices of hospitals in the Holy City, Madinah and holy places, along with many of the equipment and the preparations in all other fields that are provided by the Saudi Ministry of Health.
As for the role of the medical Hajj missions in maintaining the health of pilgrims, Dr. Tawfik Khoja said, there is cooperation and coordination between the Saudi Ministry of Health and Gulf medical missions, pointing out that the Ministers of Health in GCC countries were interested in this subject since their sixth conference in 1979, which was to adopt the model of the health card for the pilgrims. He added that this card included a special place to record immunizations adopted by the Saudi Ministry of health as well as the logo of the Executive Office. He also noted that the Ministers had emphasized, during the conference, the importance of allowing each State to provide every year epidemiological statistical about its pilgrims, and in the same times preparing final statistics by Saudi Arabia to the countries' benefit, and they also had agreed to the working guide proposed by the Technical Committee about diarrhea, sunstroke and communicable diseases revealed by medical groups.
D. Khoja pointed out that the Twenty-Fourth Conference of GCC Health Ministers had listed some of the recommendations, including: a) intensifying awareness campaigns for pilgrims before their departure from their country, b) studying the possibility of unifying health education programs for pilgrims in all Member States, c) concerning to focus on environmental health for the pilgrims through continuous inspection of accommodation, taking into account the health conditions in places of preparing food and toilets, and providing appropriate air conditioning, d) securing communication between the pilgrims and their missions to provide an opportunity to these missions to  do their medical mission quickly and send ambulances to patients if necessary, e) suggesting to apply of "plastic wrist bracelet" which include some important information about the pilgrim and his health, and f) suggesting to integrate the activities of medical missions in the Saudi health facilities that may provide an opportunity for mission members to work with staff of these facilities as a team.
Dr. Tawfiq bin Ahmed Khoja, Director-General of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers Council, concluded his statement by praying for Allah Almighty to reward the Governors - May Allah protect them - the best reward for their good efforts meant to facilitate the provision of the best services to pilgrims, and to help us all to all that pleases Him. He, exalted and glorified be He, listens and responds.

Last Update : 12 December 2011 01:04 PM
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