‘Saudi Arabia has almost double international rate of smartphones’

A Saudi man checks his mobile in the Saudi capital Riyadh, in this September 28, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 20 December 2017
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‘Saudi Arabia has almost double international rate of smartphones’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has more than 44 million mobile phone subscribers and an 88 percent rate of smartphone ownership, which is almost double the international average, according to the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC).
CITC Gov. Abdul Aziz Al-Ruwais said at a press conference on Monday that creating an environment which attracted local and international investors and strengthened their trust was a key part of Vision 2030’s goals for the communications and information technology sector.
The deputy governor of the organization and competition sector, Mohammed Al-Tamimi, revealed that mobile phone subscriptions during the third quarter of 2017 reached 44.04 million, 75 percent of which represented prepaid subscriptions (33 million subscribers), and 25 percent of which were post-paid subscriptions. This showed that the prevalence of mobile phones was very high with a rate of 138.7 percent.
Al-Tamimi said that the prevalence of smartphones in the Kingdom had reached 88 percent, which is a relatively high compared to the international average of 45 percent.
He said that up until the end of 2016 the number of Internet users had reached 24 million, with a prevalence of 74 percent. The international connection capacity average in 2016 was raised to about 3,185 gigabytes per second, up from 1,484 gigabytes per second in 2015, he said.
Al-Tamimi said that the CITC had taken three main initiatives. The first was organizing the market and promoting competition by overseeing controls to mitigate spam messages and by promoting transparency, clarity and the policy of fair use.
The second focused on promoting infrastructure and enabling technology by deploying broadband services, and through infrastructure and participation. The third initiative focused on protecting users by updating the regulations that looked after users’ rights and launching an index to classify service providers.


Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

Updated 21 July 2019
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Makkah Route: Health services presented to Hajjis in their home countries

  • 257,981 pilgrims benefited from the "preventive services" since the new initiative’s launch

RIYADH: One of the services provided by the Makkah Route initiative, which aims to smooth the Hajj journey of pilgrims and provide top-quality service, is to ensure that all health requirements are met.

The Communication, Relations and Health Awareness General Department of the Ministry of Health is implementing the initiative in two ways. 

The first is to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa (Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Tunisia). 

The second is to check that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

“Preventive measures” mean, for example, providing polio vaccines for pilgrims. The vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), is provided through the Pakistani health authorities at the departure area of the airport.

“The ministry is also deploying a team of five people qualified to supervise the application of health requirements and assess the vaccination procedure and the application of preventive measures,” the department added.   


HIGHLIGHTS

The Makkah Route initiative aims to ensure that the proper application of the health requirements for Hajj and Umrah is followed in targeted countries before issuing the Kingdom’s entry visa.

The initiative also ensures that preventive measures are taken according to the world’s epidemiological situation, for instance in Pakistan.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals.

The teams include 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.


The ministry’s procedures in the departure hall include prepping emergency clinics at the points where Makkah Route pilgrims are received. 

These clinics deal with urgent cases, prepare awareness information for pilgrims and coordinate with the General Authority of Civil Aviation regarding their distribution on the targeted airlines.

The workforce at the different land, air, and sea entry/exit points during this year’s Hajj season numbers more than 1,700 individuals, including 131 experienced doctors, general health specialists, epidemiological monitors, and other staff to provide the necessary treatment and preventive services to pilgrims.

The ministry stated that the number of health practitioners assigned to the service of pilgrims during Hajj “is more than 30,000.”

The ministry encourages volunteering during the Hajj season; it believes that it is a very important and noble service toward fellow citizens, nations and the religion, where Islam highly encourages volunteering and serving others.

The ministry is coordinating the major institutions and commissions via its Hajj volunteering link to register volunteers so that they can participate through the societal partnership program.

The missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices provide basic treatment services and refer patients to the ministry’s health facilities, keeping an eye on the overall health situation and reporting any suspicious infectious diseases. 

The ministry monitors all the health institutions and medical missions affiliated with the pilgrim’s affairs offices to make sure the health requirements are being properly applied, to ensure pilgrims’ safety and guarantee an environment free of infectious diseases.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that so far that there has been no incidence of any epidemic diseases or quarantine cases recorded among pilgrims, who arrived and the health situation is reassuring.

Since the first of Dul Qaada, the ministry has provided preventive services, via access points, to 257,981 pilgrims, with a total rate of commitment to vaccination reached  87.4 percent for meningitis, 67.3 percent for yellow fever and 95.3 percent for polio.