Jeddah hospitals struggling to cope with post-Haj illnesses

Updated 12 November 2012
0

Jeddah hospitals struggling to cope with post-Haj illnesses

JEDDAH: Many hospitals and polyclinics in Jeddah are struggling to cope with patients suffering from post-Haj related illnesses. Doctors, and general physicians are preoccupied with treating patients experiencing respiratory infections, as well as other communicable diseases common during Haj season.
Post Haj illnesses are a common phenomenon that Jeddah residents experience annually, whether the illness is due to residents performing Haj, receiving pilgrims or due to sheer proximity to the holy sites.
Expatriate residents, receiving visiting pilgrims have also been busy attending to their sick pilgrims and providing medical attention to them. There is a surge of outpatients in nearly 100% of the polyclinics in Jeddah, and the situation may persist for another two weeks. Physicians and paramedics attending to the sick patients also fall sick sometimes, due to heavy exposure to infections and viruses, as their immunity weakens.
The Saudi Ministry of Health, has demonstrated it’s commitment to mitigating health diseases during Haj by providing great medical care to the pilgrims, and by taking all the necessary precautionary health measures. However, the intensely crowded conditions of Haj, as natives from more than 150 countries converge in the holy sites, still poses health issues, with respiratory infections most common among patients.
Symptoms of illness usually appear at the end of the Haj season, characterized by coughing, sore throat, fever, fatigue, and malaise.
If coughing persists for several weeks, accompanied by purulent sputum, it is recommended to visit a doctor, as it could be an indication of a superimposed bacterial infection.
According to a report by Dr. Abdulaziz H. Alzeer of King Khalid University Hospital in Riyadh, 1 in 3 pilgrims experience respiratory infections during Haj season.
Haj pilgrims are given three vaccines: the meningococcal vaccine, which is mandatory for all Haj pilgrims to protect against meningitis; the seasonal influenza vaccine, which is essential to reduce the risk of flu; and the pneumococcal vaccine, which is required for people with heart, kidney and liver diseases, to protect them against pneumococcal diseases. All pilgrims are required to get immunizations, 14 days or more, prior to their arrival to the Kingdom, as it is a mandatory condition for obtaining their Haj visa.
Meningitis and seasonal influenza vaccines are also administered concurrently to residents.
Health issues vary from one pilgrim to the other, depending on their country of origin. For instance, African pilgrims suffer from yellow fever, whereas that type of illness is not found among Asian pilgrims. Pilgrims from Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, which comprise nearly half of the foreign pilgrims, typically experience common cold symptoms and pharyngitis, upon arrival in the Kingdom. Pilgrims from these countries have exclusive medical facilities for their Haj missions in Makkah and Madinah.
In addition, a total of 25 hospital and 141 medical clinics were established by the Saudi Ministry of Health, to attend to pilgrims in the holy cities.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

Updated 24 April 2018
0

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

  • Qiddiya Project is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom
  • The first phase will be completed by 2022

RIYADH: Saudi King Salman will launch the construction of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh Wednesday, authorities said, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversity its oil-reliant economy.
The 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, would rival Walt Disney and include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari park, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger said he expects the project will draw foreign investors in entertainment and other sectors, but did not specify the total cost of construction.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a self-styled liberal change agent who is the chief architect of the sweeping “Vision 2030” reform program.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with several plans for hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but some skeptics question their viability in an era of cheap oil.
The Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Analysts say the projects could create funding pressures at a time when the government faces a yawning budget deficit and growth in the Kingdom’s non-oil economy is only slowly gathering pace.
The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced it will stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.