Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH – Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said on Tuesday that the ministry has mobilized all its resources to make its Haj plan a resounding success.
He made the remarks while chairing the meeting of preparatory committees to review the ministry’s plan for Haj.
About 22,500 staffers, equipped with all necessary facilities and 50 ambulances, will be engaged in health services for pilgrims, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. The ministry has allocated SR10 million for making available highly advanced facilities at health centers and hospitals at holy sites.
All precautionary measures have been taken to prevent the outbreak of MERS-coronavirus during Haj.
Al-Rabeeah also explained the measures taken by the ministry to deal with MERS and swine flu viruses. “The ministry won’t prevent any pilgrim from performing Haj. However, it advises the elderly and the chronic patients to postpone their plan for Haj this year,” he said.
The ministry has readied 25 hospitals in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites with a total of 5,250 beds. These include seven hospitals in Makkah, nine in Madinah, and four each in Mina and Arafat, in addition to King Abdullah Medical City. There are also 141 permanent and temporary health centers, including 43 in Makkah, 80 at the holy sites and 12 in Madinah, besides 17 emergency centers on Jamrat Bridge. Some 16,000 blood units consisting of all blood groups have been made available. There are four helipads at the hospitals of Hera, Al-Nour, Arafat and Mina Emergency to attend to emergency cases.
Al-Rabeeah said that the ministry has completed preparations for the second international mass gathering medicine conference, which will begin in Riyadh on Sept. 21.
MERS-coronavirus will figure high at the three-day event, which will be held under the auspices of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. Several prominent figures, including director general of World Health Organization, secretary generals of Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council as well as 15 health ministers and health experts from all over the world will address the conference.
The conference, which aims to take a closer look at the academic and empirical experiences acquired at similar conferences, is expected to enhance the efficiency of health procedures taken to handle large crowds during Haj and Umrah seasons. The conference will also review the Kingdom’s experience during Haj seasons given the fact that it is an extraordinary task involving over two million pilgrims in a limited space and specific period of time, which makes it a model to be followed.