Jeddah Erfan Hospital to reopen gradually

Updated 19 January 2013

Jeddah Erfan Hospital to reopen gradually

Dr. Erfan and Bagedo Hospital has been allowed to reopen gradually after a two-month shutdown following the death of an eight-year-old boy operated upon at the facility, the head of the Jeddah Health Department said yesterday.

Dr. Sami Badawood said Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah issued the order to let Erfan resume operation after confirming reports submitted by health firms accredited by the Ministry of Health stating that the hospital has complied with health safety measures.

Such measures include utility connections and the safety of medical tools that the hospital uses, he said, adding that a committee set up by the ministry had monitored the hospital's various departments for a week and confirmed that the health firms had reported.

Earlier reports said the hospital administration had also submitted to the Ministry of Health proof that it had rectified all the 13 technical and administrative flaws uncovered by an official committee. The problems were mostly about hospital workers, safety and security arrangements and specifications of the Civil Defense.

"The hospital is going to open gradually and that its performance will be reviewed within six months from now," Badawood said.

Minister Al-Rabeeah placed the hospital under a two-month suspension two months ago upon the recommendation of a committee that investigated the death of Salah Al-Deen, an eight-year-old son of businessman Sheikh Yusuf Jameel, due to a fatal medical error during a surgery.

The Ministry of Health had said that the hospital would remain closed “until it regulates its medical and technical functions in accordance with medical standards.”

The Administrative Court in Jeddah had subsequently ruled that the hospital be allowed to operate after complying with the required reforms.

Erfan has around 3,000 employees, with Saudis accounting for more than half the number. The rest of the hospital staff are expatriates, notably Egyptians, Indians and Filipinos.

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!


What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.