Saeed Al Khotani
RIYADH — The second International Conference for Mass Gathering Medicine is to be organized by the Ministry of Health in Riyadh on Sept. 21-22 under the aegis of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, thanked the King for this kind gesture in promoting healthcare events. The first edition was organized in Jeddah on October 23-25, 2010.
The minister said that a high level organizing committee has been set up in the ministry headed by the Deputy Minister for Public Health with senior MoH officials and members of other related ministries and government agencies to organize the conference.
The MOH has accorded it a very important status as it is a Saudi and global event of great concern.
Sources at the ministry said that this 2nd edition of the conference will host senior health officials and top professionals from all over the world. This will include the Secretary General of Arab League, The Director General of World Health Organization, Health Ministers of GCC, Arab, Islamic countries, in addition to Minister of Health from US, Canada, France, Cuba and others and heads of major global health organization.
Though no details has been revealed so far on major issues and topics that the conference will tackle, it is believed that they are more likely to include the development of MERS-coronavirus, its effect on this Haj season, and the measures taken to face it and other contagious disease by the Kingdom for this year’s Umrah and Haj seasons.
Also, experience and development in mass gathering medicine field in the Kingdom and other parts of the world during the period between the last conference and this conference, and how to share knowledge and expertise in the field will be discussed. Dr. Ziad Maimish, the head of the Higher Organizing Committee of the conference, who was appointed for four years last November by WHO as head of the International Center for Mass Gathering Medicine Center that the international organization is going to establish in the Kingdom in implementation of the 1st conference proposals, said that Kingdom has led the way in the field of mass gathering medicine and has gained considerable experience in this area.
“It is through its experience in managing millions of pilgrims at a specific time and limited space that has been helpful,” he said.
“Therefore the Kingdom is being hailed by many international governmental and nongovernmental organizations for its dedicated efforts in the field of mass gathering medicine,” he added.
Dr. Maimish said that the 1st conference adopted the Jeddah Declaration on mass gathering health, the first regional and global declaration emphasizing the importance of providing holistic and health care services to beneficiaries, emphasizing that the most tangible outcome of the conference was the strategies and benefits for upgrading mass gathering medicine worldwide.