Expert speaks of her experience of supporting pregnant Hajj pilgrims

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The Makkah-based gynecologist monitored the progress of pregnant women in various stages of their pregnancy during this year's Hajj season. (Photos / Supplied)
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The Makkah-based gynecologist monitored the progress of pregnant women in various stages of their pregnancy during this year's Hajj season. (Photos / Supplied)
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The Makkah-based gynecologist monitored the progress of pregnant women in various stages of their pregnancy during this year's Hajj season. (Photos / Supplied)
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The Makkah-based gynecologist monitored the progress of pregnant women in various stages of their pregnancy during this year's Hajj season. (Photos / Supplied)
Updated 24 August 2018
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Expert speaks of her experience of supporting pregnant Hajj pilgrims

MAKKAH: A large number of Hajj pilgrims who streamed in and out of Makkah earlier this week were women in various stages of pregnancy.
Keeping an eye on their progress was a Makkah-based gynecologist who advised them to take the utmost care with their medicine and avoid physical exertion.
Dr. Nighat Irfana, a senior gynecologist who has been assisting Hajj pilgrims for more than eight years, gave her patients advice on the dos and don’ts of performing the annual pilgrimage.
“As physical exertion is part of Hajj pilgrimage, I always advise women to take medicine regularly,” Dr. Irfana told Arab News.
“They must keep their antenatal checkup record. In case of diabetes and high blood pressure, they should carry their doctor’s prescription and take medicine properly,” she said.
“Early pregnancy abortion, preterm labor pain, full-term labor pain, pregnancy associated with diabetes and hypertension are some of the issues that women face during Hajj,” added Dr. Irfana, who is a senior specialist at the Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Makkah.
She advised woman pilgrims to be careful if using medication to postpone menstruation during Hajj. “Such medicines should not be used without consulting the doctor. Knowing the right dose is very important.”
During her eight years of service, Dr. Irfana has also served at Arafat Hospital twice during the Hajj pilgrimage.
“The main responsibilities of doctors during Hajj are to serve Hajj patients with immediate and complete health services and make their Hajj easy and free from pain and disease,” she says.
During her fourth year of Hajj service Dr. Irfana was ferried to Arafat in a helicopter to assist at a birth.
“Due to physical exertion the patient got labor pain before time and was about to deliver. My hospital sent me immediately to ensure a safe and healthy delivery.”
She was also on the scene two years ago when there was a stampede in Makkah.
“All doctors, paramedics and authorities were on alert and equipped to provide medical support to those affected. The whole crisis management was flawless and efficient,” she said.
Surprisingly, despite the large numbers of languages spoken by the pilgrims, she said this does not present the medical staff with a problem.
“As many pilgrims come from Arab countries, language is not an issue. Similarly for Asian pilgrims, there are doctors and paramedics who can communicate with them in their languages. With pilgrims from Western countries, we can speak English. We also have interpreters to deal with patients from countries such as China, Malaysia and Mali,” said Dr. Irfana.
“Saudi Arabia provides best of world-class health services to the Hajj pilgrims. We feel proud that we serve the guests of Allah,” she said.
“For us the best reward for rigorous and long hours at work is the love and blessings that Hajj patients shower on us when we treat them.”


New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

Updated 24 March 2019
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New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

  • More than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018
  • GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh

JEDDAH: New technologies applied in Saudi Arabia's airports has contributed to aviation growth in the Kingdom and has provided solutions for passenger’s trips, air cargo and investments, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has said.

GACA earlier reported an 8 percent increase in passenger numbers and 4 percent in flight rates in 2018.

It said more than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018, compared to 92.42 million passengers on board 741,293 flights in 2017.

"The GACA is keen to adopt plans to develop the Kingdom's airports network in order to keep pace with the steady increase in air traffic, increase the reliability of services, maximize geographic coverage and enhance the contribution of the airports to the overall economic growth of the country," it said.

For example, it said, GACA provides information through technology to reduce paperwork, operating costs and streamline business processes while reducing time to address them.

Most prominent among these e-services is the “Self-Services at the Kingdom's airports” that include check-in kiosks that provide boarding passes and luggage identification cards and self-service baggage drops that allows passengers to self-check their luggage.

It also provides self-scanning devices for bags in the arrival halls, ensuring that all baggage and other cargo arrive at the airport through the installation of electronic gates for the passage of freight vehicles before being emptied into the luggage compartment. 

Electronic gates and document scanning machines ensure that a traveler's information is correct and that boarding passes, passports, national identity and residency are valid.

Other services include airport operations systems and flight information display for some domestic airports.

To ensure accuracy in the flight schedules, GACA said it is working on a project to link the Saudi Arabian Airlines traffic management system to the Airport Management System, of which 50 percent has been completed.

GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh to review the infrastructure projects for airports and smart airports, the available opportunities to operate the airports and provide advanced services and consultations in civil aviation, among others.