MERS-stricken hospital gets new managers; death toll now at 117

Updated 20 May 2014
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MERS-stricken hospital gets new managers; death toll now at 117

Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih has appointed a new team to manage King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah, where a spike in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) infections among medical staff has sparked public panic.
Fakeih announced the new team on Twitter as he launched an awareness campaign to help stop the spread of the disease, which has killed 117 people in the kingdom as of Wednesday.
In its latest update, the Ministry of Health said Wednesday that the total number of MERS infections in the kingdom since September 2012 has risen to 431.
The latest deaths included a 68-year-old woman who had been previously recorded as a confirmed MERS case in Jeddah and a 60-year-old man in Madinah. Both died on May 5, said the MOH report.
Fakeih urged the public to extend their cooperation in combating the virus by practicing simple precautions.
The campaign urges people not only to follow strict measures of hygiene, but specifically to avoid sick camels and refrain from eating raw camel meat or drinking unboiled camel milk.
Some researchers think the virus may have been passed on to humans by camels.
Fakeih, who is the incumbent labor minister, was named acting health minister in a concurrent capacity after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah relieved Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeah of his post last month.
Fakieh said on Twitter late Tuesday that he had sacked the head of King Fahd Hospital and named Dr. Emad Al-Jahdali as the new director-general and Dr. Hani Jahdar and Dr. Mohammed Qaroot as assistant directors-general.
Al-Jahdali is an Occupational and Environmental Medicine Consultant physician with a Canadian Medical Residency training degree from University of Alberta / Edmonton/ Canada, Fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American College of Occupational and Environmental medicine. He has more than 21 years of extensive hands on experience in various clinical, administrative, and executive leadership roles, including his tenures at Saudi Aramco, King Abdullah University for Science & Technology and the International Medical Center (IMC).
The Jeddah hospital was temporarily shut last month after several health workers were infected by MERS. The panic that followed prompted at least four doctors to resign in mid-April after they refused to treat MERS patients for fear of infection.
Fakeih has reiterated his commitment to offer the best health services to the people in the Kingdom and assured that health care services would be delivered promptly to those who seek medical assistance from his ministry hospitals .
“The Government is doing its best to prevent the spread of the MERS coronavirus. Now we need the help of the public in implementing simple precautions to prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.
“The campaign is based on expert medical advice from respected organizations and health care professionals. We would like to thank them for their important contributions in its implementation ,” he added.
He said the public awareness campaign is to combat the MERS Corona virus and to empower the public with crucial up-to-date information required to play their part in combatting the virus.
Dr. Sami Badawood, spokesman of the Jeddah Health Affairs Department, said Fakeih has important messages to health workers which he wanted to deliver in person. He said each hospital director should personally responsible for the anti-infection program, and noted that infection fighting procedures need more follow up from hospital leaderships to reach the required level. He stressed that the presence of hospital leaderships with the working team has positive impacts on the workers.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.