By Omar Al-Zobaidy & Mohammed Al-Harbi
Published — Thursday 31 October 2002
Last Update 31 October 2002 3:00 am
RIYADH, 31 October — Crown Prince Abdullah, deputy premier and commander of the National Guard, yesterday inaugurated the SR1.2 billion Sultan Humanitarian City here, one of the world’s largest medical rehabilitation facilities which will provide professional health care services to people with special needs, including children and the elderly.
"I open this facility in the name of God and seeking His blessings. God willing, it will serve Islam, Muslims and the Saudi people," the crown prince said while unveiling the plaque to mark the opening.
Prince Sultan, second deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, Riyadh Governor Prince Salman, other princes and high-ranking officials attended the inauguration.
Prince Abdullah and his entourage later toured the advanced facilities inside the city, which covers an area of 1.2 million square meters in Binban, a small community about 30 km north of the capital. It was established by Sultan Charitable Foundation.
Addressing the ceremony, Prince Faisal ibn Sultan, the charity’s secretary-general, described the medical city as the foundation’s first and foremost project. He highlighted the charity’s educational, medical, housing, Islamic and social projects within and outside the Kingdom.
Prince Sultan has agreed to set up a fund to support needy patients at the humanitarian city, he said. "Those who contribute to the fund will be informed how their money was spent," Prince Faisal said. A number of philanthropists have already pledged their donations.
Dr. Rashid Aba Al-Khail, director general of the foundation, said Sultan Humanitarian City was the largest of its kind in the world. The city comprises a full-fledged center for medical diagnosis, 18 large and small operation theaters, a 250-bed rehabilitation center, a recovery center, a 150-bed center for the elderly, a child development center and an education and training center.
The humanitarian city encompasses both in-patient and outpatient facilities. An extensive range of rehabilitation programs is available including services for pediatric, neurological, brain injury and spinal cord injury.
"The child development center will provide an integrated educational and therapeutic program for 150 children who have special educational needs due to physical handicaps, developmental disabilities or complex health problems," Aba Al-Khail said.
The outpatient clinics encompass 13 clinics with 55 examination rooms and eight operating rooms. Important features of the outpatient clinics are the day surgery center and the cranio-facial surgery center. A conference hall, sports hall, staff housing and an administration building, supplement the city’ facilities.
The foundation runs a number of projects within and outside the Kingdom. They include the Sultan Science and Technology Center in Alkhobar, an innovative project under development that will provide opportunities for youth to learn about science and technology.
In combining medicine, science and technology, Medunet (Sultan ibn Abdulaziz Medical and Educational Telecommunications Program), utilizes state of the art telecommunications facilities. These facilities were created to provide access to medical research resources in cooperation with major universities and research centers around the world.
In order to provide education and understanding of the Arab and Islamic culture, the foundation established the Sultan Continuing Education Program at the Gulf University in Bahrain and the Sultan Arab & Islamic Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley. The foundation has three housing projects in Tabuk, Hail and Asir.