Saudi minister: Culture and technology build bridges between peoples

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih was in St. Petersburg where a forum dubbed the “Russian Davos.” will take place. (File/Reuters)
Updated 07 June 2019
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Saudi minister: Culture and technology build bridges between peoples

  • Falih said dialogue creates understanding on which further economic prosperity can be built

ST. PETERSBURG: Art and technology can build economic bridges between peoples and countries, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Thursday as works by two Saudi artists went on show at Russia’s leading art museum.

“To create the opportunities to build economic bridges, you also need to build understanding and trust,” Al-Falih said at the opening of an art exhibition in St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum celebrating the connection between technology and culture.

“This cultural dialogue is connected with how people think and how they feel, and with the emerging technologies of today, that creates this cultural understanding on which we can further build economic prosperity, for the people of Russia but importantly for people all over the world including the Middle East.”

The exhibition includes art by two Saudi women — Lulwah Al-Homoud and Daniah Al-Saleh — in a collection of 16 works by international artists on the theme “artificial intelligence and cultural dialogue.”

The launch of the show was one of the official opening ceremonies for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a three-day gathering of business leaders, policymakers and intellectuals sometimes known as the “Russian Davos.”

Al-Falih said: “Let’s look beyond the art itself and the creation of technology that we’ll be seeing, let’s get to appreciate the talent from different countries, let’s connect the dots between business, peoples all over the world, nations and between science and technology and innovation, and dream of a better tomorrow.”

He said the inclusion of the Saudi artists demonstrated the Kingdom’s social and cultural progress under the Vision 2030 strategy to transform the country. “It speaks to the cultural development as well as scientific development, as well as the capabilities of young people, especially women, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said.


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.