MOH News
Dr. Khojah: Saudi MOH Provides Exceptional Services for Pilgrims
07 October 2012
The Director-General of the Executive Office of the GCC Council of Ministers of Health, Dr. Tawfik bin Ahmed Khojah pointed out that the Hajj season is a unique experience all over the world and comes around every year. Hence, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia exerts exceptional efforts for such a holy occasion.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was bestowed the honor to serve the pilgrims and the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, may Allah protect them, is interested in harnessing all its abilities to provide the best services and care for pilgrims in all fields. Among these fields are the health services provided by the Ministry of Health for pilgrims, which have witnessed great development in terms of quantity, kind, and quality through advanced, preventive, ambulatory, curative, and supervisory system, and medical, technical, and supporting labor force of a high level in terms proficiency and training.
Dr. Khojah has praised the level of the health services in the Kingdom which have attained the international community admiration and has become a role model to be followed. The Ministry of Health works with all its offices and sectors on providing the health care for the pilgrims at the highest level, in spite of the difficult circumstances posed in the existence of large numbers of pilgrims at a limited area of land. Hence, this helps speed the spread of infection and raise the proportion of accidents and injuries resulting from overcrowding. In addition, the majority of pilgrims is older people; as their ages exceed fifty years. And some pilgrims have chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, heart diseases among others, in addition to their different nationalities, languages, habits, and cultures; and changing climate conditions. As such, the pilgrims become vulnerable to sun strokes and heat exhaustion during summer; and pneumonitis and cold during winter, which lead to the rise of health facilities' frequenters and the numbers of those hospitalized. In addition, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health, the health services are credited during the Hajj season for their distinctive achievements; in spite of the rapid increase in the number of pilgrims from a year to another, this was coped with great expansion in the diagnostic, curative, and clinical services.
The Director-General of the Executive Office noted that the Ministry of Health is interested in setting watertight plans appropriate for such a great occasion, and which live up to the most important event in the Muslim's life and the holiest places in the world. These plans are based upon an intimate study for the pros and cons of the past season when it finishes; in order benefiting from this evaluation in the preparation for the next season. He also noted that we should not forget the role of the other health sectors represented in National Guard, Security Forces, Saudi Red Crescent Authority, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Hajj, Ministry of Electricity, and High Commission for the Development of Makkah, Madinah, the Holy Cities, and other authorities related to the service of the pilgrims that support the health services provided by the Kingdom to the pilgrims.
Dr, Khojah added that the slogan (Pilgrims' Health Is our Concern) adopted by the Ministry of Health many years ago and though which it  provides distinctive health services in the Hajj according to an integrated, comprehensive plan for the preventive, curative, ambulatory services. And such a plan helps intensify the health awareness according to codified, distinctive programs and plans. He also referred to the efforts and capabilities which the Saudi MOH provides; among which for example it has tasked 19926 participants of the labor force program of the various medical, technical, and administrative groups in the Hajj from all the Kingdom's regions with implementing the MOH's employment plan during 1433H Hajj season, and what such numbers have brought about of an increase due to the expansion and addition of preventive, curative, ambulatory services. In addition, 320 participants of the labor forced of the scarce specialties in terms of physicians and technicians have been recruited to support the health facilities in the Holy Capital (Makkah), Holy Sites, and Madinah, it has also modernized the medical and non-medical equipment and earmarked more than RS ten million to replace and develop all the Intensive Care devices in the hospitals of the Hajj areas in the Holy Capital (Makkah), Holy Sites, and Madinah, in addition to several equipment, plans, and preparations in all other fields provided by the Saudi MOH.
Dr, Khojah stated that there is a full cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Health with regard to the gulf medical missions, and the role such missions play in maintaining the pilgrims' health, referring to the procedures made by the Executive Office in that regard. It has approved the pilgrim's health card form and circulated it the member states, making a space on it designated to the registration of the vaccinations determined by the Saudi MOH. It has also stressed on each state to present epidemiological statistics on its pilgrims every year, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in turn prepares final statistics providing it to the states to benefit from it. In addition, it has also worked on intensifying the pilgrims' health awareness campaigns before from their departure from their countries, and studying the possibility of unifying the pilgrims' health education programs in all states along with the interest in the environment health. And this is through a regular inspecting to the residence places, the Tawaf performers' (circumambulation Kabbah) adhering to that with the health guidelines of the cooking-preparation places and toilets taken in account, providing proper air conditioners, and securing communications between the pilgrims and their missions in order for the medical convoy to perform its duty swiftly and dispatch ambulance to hospitalize the patients when necessary. It has also urged the pilgrim to put a plastic bracelet around their wrist, including some important information about them and their health. In addition, it suggested integrating the activities of the Holy Sites' medical convoys with the Saudi health facilities, to the effect that the members of the missions work along their colleagues working at such facilities as an integrated team work, especially after the comprehensive coverage for the Holy Sites in the Saudi health hospitals and centers.
At the conclusion of the his statement, Dr. Khojah prayed Allah, the Almighty, to reward our governors, may Allah protect them, with the best of all for what they made if good efforts to facilitate the pilgrims which do credit to all, and to make all these good work in the balance of their good deeds. May Allah guide us all to what pleases us; He listens and responds.

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