Mohammed Rasooldeen, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2004-10-06 03:00

RIYADH, 6 October 2004 — Crown Prince Abdullah inaugurated the 1,095-bed King Fahd Medical City (KFMC) here yesterday. A spectacular fireworks display, witnessed by thousands of people, marked the opening of the medical city, the largest in the Middle East.

The opening of KFMC coincided with the 23rd anniversary of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd’s accession to the throne. King Fahd donated SR53.98 million last year to purchase medical equipment required by the complex.

With four hospitals, KFMC is the largest medical facility in the Middle East built at a cost of SR2.3 billion. KFMC’s yearly operating budget is estimated at SR300 million for medical and non-medical maintenance and catering contracts.

“We are proud that this is the largest and the most advanced medical facility in the Middle East which specializes in treating rare and chronic diseases,” said Minister of Health Dr. Hamad ibn Abdullah Al-Manie in his inaugural address. It is expected to treat more than 50,000 in-house patients and more than 600,000 outpatients annually, the minister said.

The minister announced the government’s plan to establish similar specialist hospitals all over the country. Prince Abdullah will open the newly established 640-bed King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Dammam this month. The foundation stone will be laid for another specialist hospital in Hail shortly, he added.

The minister pointed out that KFMC has opened a college of medicine in September where 40 male students have been enrolled. This facility, he said, will enroll female undergraduates later.

“Crown Prince Abdullah has given his instructions to fully operate the medical city this year and establish three more centers for tumors, open heart surgery and diabetes,” Al-Manie said.

Dr. Al-Manie said the decision to open the huge medical complex was taken with the support of the crown prince and added that the implementation of the medical city, which has been provided with the most sophisticated medical equipment, aims at extending excellent medical services to all citizens.

The governors of Najran and Hail, Prince Mishaal ibn Saud and Prince Saud ibn Abdul Mohsin, conveyed their greetings and good wishes to the crown prince via satellite TV screens on display to the guests who included Riyadh Governor Prince Salman. Crown Prince Abdullah presented mementos to the directors of the four hospitals of the KFMC. He also honored Dr. Abdul Aziz Niyaz, director general of medical license and pharmacies department at the Health Ministry, by awarding him the King Abdul Aziz Medal of the First Order. Niyaz made headlines after refusing to accept SR10 million bribe from the owner of a pharmacies group.

The complex located in the north of the capital in Sulaimaniyah area incorporates a 459-bed main hospital with specialty clinics to treat chronic diseases, a 50-bed rehabilitation unit, a 300-bed pediatric hospital, a 250-bed maternity hospital and a psychiatric hospital.

In addition to the hospitals there is a burns treatment unit, kidney center, intensive care facilities, radiology, rehabilitation facilities and spinal cord treatment unit.

The complex also includes an ambulatory care building, an administration building, a services building, 3,000 staff housing units, and a community center including a mosque, shopping center, a school, a day care center and a recreational center.

KFMC plans to use the world’s first fully digitized classrooms to teach radiology to Saudi doctors.

Vitrea 2, a state of the art imaging system for medical imaging, has been built in to save time and money for clinicians. Vitrea 2 workstations provide a gallery of automated three dimensional images plus real-time reconstructions of scanner data for specific clinical applications.

One of the major advantages is that with a simple mouse click, it transforms ordinary black and white images into extremely accurate and detailed color ones. It is fast, easy to use and cost-effective, making it very attractive for multiple hospital departments.

The Kingdom currently has 320 government and private hospitals with 46,840 beds, according to a report of the Ministry of Health. The number of government hospitals reached 189 with 27,826 beds. They are supported by 1,766 primary health care centers.

Government hospitals employ 14,827 physicians, 892 pharmacists, 36,219 nurses and 21,885 paramedics.

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