MOH News
Dr. Khoshaim: New Hospital Set Up at Arafat, High-Level Procedures Taken for Pilgrims' Safety
08 October 2012
  • The Ministry of Health exerts concerted efforts to implement the motto “Prevention is better than cure” by controlling epidemics and infectious disease.
  • 20,000 workers of various medical, technical and administrative functions take part in the pilgrimage season from all Saudi provinces help implement the operation plan of the Ministry of Health.

His Excellency the Deputy Minister of Health for Planning and Development, and Chair of the Hajj Preparatory Committees, Dr. Mohamed bin Hamzah Khoshaim, said a new hospital, at eastern Arafat, will be opened this season with a 236-bed capacity, including 50 for intensive care and 30 for emergency. The new hospital will offer its services to pilgrims for the first time this season.

The Kingdom exerts continuous effort to serve pilgrims as it plays a leading role in the Muslim world and to provide pilgrims with health care that insures their wellbeing and safety.

The Ministry of Health completed all preparations to ensure the safety of pilgrims and provide all excellent services (preventive, curative and emergency). The services are offered through several health facilities across the Kingdom, starting from the country's main entry points to holy places and Medina.

The health centers have been equipped with various preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic, ambulatory and awareness levels to ensure the safety and excellent health of pilgrims and make the kingdom free from all infectious diseases.

At a press conference, Dr. Khoshaim said 20,000 participants in the Manpower Program of various medical, technical and administrative functions have been entrusted with the task of implementing the operational plan of the Ministry of Health this season. The number of jobs within the Manpower Programme of preventive medicine increased at Medina to 107 jobs; the same number as the program applied in Mecca, he added.

He pointed out that 320 workers of rare specialties of physicians and technicians have been employed to support the health facilities at the Holy Capital, the sacred places and Medina, including 115 consultants and specialists from inside the Kingdom, 205 catheterization technicians, respiratory treatment, intensive care nursing, and emergency specialists. The group also includes 40 catheterization, X-ray and heart nursing technicians; 35 respiratory treatment specialists and technicians; 130 intensive care and emergency nurses, 366 workers who offer support services to health facilities - 280 at the Holy Capital and holy places, and 86 at Medina.

About 50 volunteering students, male and female, from the faculties of medicine and health have been invited to take part at the pilgrimage season.

Dr. Khoshaim stressed that therapeutic services will be offered under the operational plan of the Ministry through permanent and seasonal health utilities at the pilgrimage areas at 25 hospitals (four at Arafat, four at Mena, seven at the Holy Capital and nine at Medina, besides King Abdullah Medical City).

The number of beds at the hospitals within the pilgrimage locations, Dr. Khoshaim added, is 5250 (4200 at specialized departments, 500 for intensive care and 550 for emergency). In addition to 141 permanent and seasonal health centers at pilgrimage locations, including 43 at the Holy Capital, 80 at the holy locations, 46 at Arafat, six at pedestrian passages of Muzdalifah, 28 at Mena, and 12 health centers at Medina.

Dr. Khoshaim pointed out that the Ministry aims, in its operation plan, at offering more therapeutic services in some specializations to reduce the death rate resulting from certain diseases and provide the medical equipment and manpower needed to deal with most cases to reduce the need for transferring cases to other hospitals.

Khochaim added that the Ministry is expanding the program of cardiac catheterization and heart surgery at the King Abdullah Medical City in the holy capital and hospitals at pilgrimage areas.

The ministry seeks for improving the services at intensive care units across pilgrimage areas using modern technology. It equipped all hospitals with gastrointestinal endoscopy devices, and dialysis devices at the holy places.

Dr. Khoshaim said the ministry exerts concerted efforts to implement the motto “Prevention is better than cure” by controlling epidemics and infectious disease; keeping an eye on the latest developments at the World Health Organization and international health bodies. He asserted the ministry applies all required precautions on all pilgrims and implemented a counter infection program at the scared places' hospitals.

Dr.  Khoshaim said that the ministry ensures the safe disposal of the hospital waste across the pilgrimage locations, and that 15 health control centers on the Kingdom's land ports, airports and seaports, are operational.

The centers are operated by the Manpower Programme, equipment and vaccines as first defense line implementing the precautions on all pilgrims. The ministry also supported preventive medicine program at Medina with 107 jobs, the same number as in Mecca.

The ministry, he added, supports all bodies participating in emergency through preparing and checking health emergency plans at pilgrimage areas and implementing additional emergency plans in high density locations. There are also plans to deal with emergency cases, supply services to accident spots and equip heliports' landing pads with the facilities required to transfer patients to advanced care hospitals.

The Muaisam Emergency Complex is operational to receive potential death cases resulting from disasters, and 17 emergency centers at Jamarat Bridge are ready to receive emergency cases. “80 big ambulances have been provided to transfer patients from health facilities at pilgrimage areas, and 95 small cars are available for field treatment. Every ambulance has a doctor and a nurse onboard” said Dr. Khoshaim.

He said the ministry focused its plan on offering diagnostic services and supplies all laboratory equipment and materials for laboratory tests, as well as applies standard samples program to ensure the accuracy of tests at health centers. The ministry uses high-tech laboratory devices to detect the signs of heart attacks in no time.

He explained that virus detection lab at the regional laboratory of Jeddah has been operational round the clock to conduct tests for all disease causing viruses, especially those transferred from animals/birds to humans. The plan seeks for offering 16000 blood units and derivatives from all different groups for use during the season, and major hospitals were prepared as an auxiliary support for emergencies where blood is available.

Concluding, Dr. Khoshaim said the ministry every year dispatches a medical team convoy to help inpatients attend the rituals at Arafat. Patients get transferred from hospitals of the sacred capital, Mena, Medina and Jeddah along with an integrated medical team. By so doing, up to 500 patients manage to perform the rituals annually.

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