Celebrating global talents at King Fahd Medical City

Celebrating global talents at King Fahd Medical City

When the first development plan was announced in 1970, the Kingdom lacked the human resources necessary to carry out the plan. There were very few Saudi college graduates and skilled workers. A debate was underway whether to train nationals or heavily rely on foreign workforce to achieve the goals.
Due to the magnanimity of the program, it was felt that training of locals would take a long time. Consequently, the government opted for the use of foreign workforce.
It was a time when the number of Saudis even to fill in secretarial or clerical jobs was scarce. Interestingly, a person with a minimum knowledge of the English language would have instantly landed a managerial level job. Those days, however, are a thing of past. Within almost 15 years, the simple Saudi society that lacked basic infrastructure to sustain a steady progress has been transformed into a developed one comparable — in many aspects — to advanced countries. Now, the Kingdom is set to embark on another development plan that has resulted in a massive economic surge, however, with different objectives and requirements.
The objective of the current plan is to establish a knowledge-based economy, involving information technology, solar and nuclear energy, business and finance, as well as the sustenance of quality services for the growing population. These areas require different type of qualifications, which are in short supply both locally and internationally.
This time around the Kingdom requires manpower different from the ones who had played their parts in the construction of the basic infrastructure. Those with the desired credentials rely on their intellect rather than their hands; have global disposition that sees the world as one unit; and are able to endure strenuous training. Acquiring such individuals is becoming internationally competitive.
All of these thoughts crossed my mind, while I was driving a relative to Prince Salman Heart Center at King Fahd Medical City (KFMC). As I was entering the KFMC, the number of buildings dotted in a line amazed me. I thought his huge medical facility must require highly qualified staff particularly at the heart center. As we all know, the number of locals in this field is not sufficient so obviously we are left with no choice but to rely on expats. We walked into the building and asked for Dr. Mostafa Adel Youssef. That was supposed to be our first meeting with the doctor, who enjoys very good reputation in the Arab world. We were asked to wait. Minutes later, a young man walked into the office with a pleasant smile on his face and speaking English with native proficiency and never occured to us he was a Saudi. The office secretary told us that he was Dr. Youssef. Defying all our expectations, he invited us to his office and provided my relative with detailed information about his condition and the heart procedures, stressing from time to time that everything will be just fine. My relative left the doctor comfortable and delighted as if he were a completely healthy person with no cardiac condition. Dr. Youssef represents the modern Saudi professionals who could make a big difference in our society. It only takes a handful of people to make a lasting and significant difference in any society, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are clear examples. Dr. Youssef stands out in our society as an example of a positive change by employing new ways of thinking.
He has played a crucial role in the establishment of the Prince Salman Heart Center into an internationally renowned facility. He is also responsible for the training of medical students, cardiology fellows, and internal medical residents. Thus, soon we will have a new generation with the same vision and aspirations.
Luckily, my initial concerns when I first visited the hospital disappeared. An immense feeling of thrill and pride takes over every time I visit the KFMC with my relative, knowing that in addition of being the director of Prince Salman Center, Dr.Youssef has also become the executive director for medical affairs. This means his vision — God willing — will overshadow everyone in the hospital.

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