MOH News
MOH Spokesman: 65 Epidemiological Surveillance Teams Formed in Makkah and the Holy Sites
18 September 2015
As part of its keen interest in the safety of the pilgrims, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has put all human, material, and technological capabilities on standby; in order to provide comprehensive health services, covering the preventive, therapeutic, ambulatory, and educational aspects. And to put that into effect, took a host of precautions, preparations, and procedures. This includes application of the preset health requirements on all the pilgrims arriving to the Kingdom, and intensifying the work of the early epidemiological surveillance at land, sea, and air ports, through 15 health monitoring centers, as well as intensifying the epidemiological surveillance teams for the infectious and non-infectious diseases.  

The MOH spokesman, Mr. Faisal bin Saeed Al-Zahrani, said that the Ministry has raised  the alert level with regard to the emergency and potential developments related to all diseases during this year's Hajj season; especially MERS-CoV, and has tightened the epidemiological and preventive surveillance procedures for this virus as well as other diseases.

Al-Zahrani added that the Ministry, represented by the Command and Control Center (CCC), has taken intensive measures to combat the virus during this year's Hajj season, as well as applying all precautionary measures during the last period. To that effect, training sessions were organized for the Tawafa organizations and the medical missions to deal with the suspected cases. Also, they were provided with the direct phone numbers to be contacted in case there is a suspected MERS-CoV case, to ensure MOH's rapid response. 

He said that MOH, as per its strategic plan, has implemented an accurate surveillance system during this year's Hajj. 106 teams have been formed to provide preventive services. They embarked on boosting the health-awareness of pilgrims in Makkah and the Holy Sites. In addition, there are 65 field teams for epidemiological surveillance at MOH hospitals, covering all pilgrimage areas, under the supervision of a constellation of experts and consultants in infectious diseases.  

Dr. Al-Zahrani pointed out that the MOH has dedicated 33 epidemiological surveillance teams to the following Makkah Hospitals: King Abdulaziz Hospital, Al-Noor Hospital, King Faisal Hospital, Heraa Hospital, the Maternity and Children Hospital, and Ajiad Hospital, Out of these 33 teams, 18 are immobile epidemiological surveillance teams, and 15 are field teams. These teams are overseen by 3 supervisory teams. In addition, the MOH has dedicated 6 epidemiological surveillance teams to the unit of the medical missions accompanying pilgrims. 

In Mina, he added, MOH has prepared 18 epidemiological surveillance teams, including 9 immobile teams and 9 field surveillance teams, under the supervision of epidemiological surveillance teams: 6 immobile and field teams at Mina Emergency Hospital, 4 teams at Mina al-Wadi Hospital, 4 teams at Mina al-Jisr Hospital, and 4 teams at Mina al-Share' al-Jadeed Hospital.  

He added that, the MOH has formed 14 immobile and field  epidemiological surveillance teams at Arafat hospitals, including 4 teams at Arafat General Hospital, 4 at Namirah Hospital, and 4 teams at Jabal Al-Rahma Hospital, in addition to one immobile and field team at East Arafat Hospital.  

Dr. Al-Zahrani stressed that the MOH's Command and Control Center ensures that health challenges are managed with a systematic, holistic, comprehensive and real-time approach. The Center is staffed with clinicians, scientists and scholars, as well as healthcare and emergency planning experts. The center works under the direct supervision of His Excellency the Minister of Health, in collaboration with international experts and organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

The Center, it is noteworthy, is made up of 11 platforms; each of which is concerned with tackling a specific topic. All of them come under the supervision and coordination of the Oversight Tower Platform, deemed to be the cornerstone of the CCC work. Of the said 11 platforms, the Cross-Government Coordination Platform. It is responsible for coordinating efforts with the government partners, and update them with all necessary data. There also the Public Health Platform, responsible for data gathering and epidemiological investigations, as well as coordination with international partners. As for the Medical Advisory Council, it is tasked with setting work schedule and managing human and veterinary researches, as well as providing the necessary consultation to the Tower Platform and other platforms on scientific and clinical issues relevant to public health. The Labs and Diagnosis Platform ensures that samples are collected, tested and reported within a preset time-frame. 

Still, the Epidemic Control Support Platform provides crucial evidence-based information to decision-makers and recommendations on the preventive and control measures to be taken during Umra and Hajj. So far the Infection Control Platform is concerned, its primary role is to prevent and control infections in healthcare facilities, and to inform the public of any required measures and precautions. The Capacity Development Platform is responsible for ensuring that healthcare facilities have adequate potentials to care for patients safely. Finally, the Therapeutic Operations Platform is responsible for providing the best possible care for MERS-COV confirmed cases as well as the cases which have shown symptoms of the disease, in line with the approved international standards.

 



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