Nazaha uncovers 460 faltering health projects

Updated 28 June 2013

Nazaha uncovers 460 faltering health projects

Nazaha, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, discovered 460 faltering health projects in the Kingdom. The body called on the Ministry of Health to open investigations and take necessary action against the perpetrators.
Nazaha urged the ministry to inform them about its intended procedures in this regard. It urged the completion of the projects so that all citizens can benefit from the health centers’ services across the Kingdom, saying that the weak performance of the Health Affairs Administrations had led to a delay in implementing these projects.
The commission found that work was stopped in 420 health centers. Two national companies signed a contract worth SR 1.47 billion to implement these centers.
Another contract worth SR 1.5 billion was signed with three national companies to build 440 health centers. Seven years have passed since the signing of the first contract and only 276 centers were built. The second project only built 124 centers, after six years of the contract’s signing.
The commission observed that the technical cadres of the consulting company were weak and inefficient; they only had a few engineers spread across the various health administrations in the Kingdom. They didn’t have field offices at the project sites to directly supervise the operations. The ministry follows up on these centers.
It said health administrations could have directly followed up the work process with the contractor and the consultancy company, within its administrational fields and could have provided engineers to their areas. Their absence and the ministry’s continued alterations to the centers’ models, standards and regulations after signing the contracts, led to delaying the projects.
Implementing companies were forced to change the old models with new ones, at the time of withdrawing the projects from the contractors, because of the expiry of their implementation period.
The ministry reduced the number of centers by 125 centers per contract, but they were not able to reclaim the first payment set at 20 percent from contractors. They didn’t invite specialized consultancy firms to redesign the new models, and as a result, work stopped in some centers.
Contracts included furnishing and equipping the centers, which led to the breakdown of some equipment because they were left unprotected for a long time. The equipment cost 30 percent of the total value of the contracts. Nazaha said these contracts should have been awarded to companies specializing in medical and technical businesses.

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.