Tabuk heritage in the spotlight at Janadriyah

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Young children perform at the Tabuk pavilion in Janadriyah Festival. (SPA)
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The Janadriyah Festival captures the great history of the Saudi people. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 01 January 2019

Tabuk heritage in the spotlight at Janadriyah

  • More than 300 people from across the region, as well as several local companies, have visited the Tabuk exhibition thus far

RIYADH: In perfect timing with the annual Janadriyah Festival, a heritage village showcasing the Tabuk region and its culture was inaugurated by King Salman last week.
The newly constructed area, which was supervised by Tabuk Gov. Prince Fahd bin Sultan, contains comprehensive information on the region and its people, as well as folklore events and cultural music.
Arab News met with Mohammad Saeed, head of a Tabuk delegation, who expressed excitement at the inclusion of his hometown in this year’s festival edition.
“The village includes a makeshift coastal and agricultural desert space,” he said. “We have about 24 local handicraft specialists on set, which includes three makeshift houses. The first symbolizes the region’s desert environment and includes a desert museum, as well as an Arab-style living room called a ‘majlis.’ The second contains a selection of renowned local restaurants and paintings depicting the coastline, while the third represents traditional bedrooms.”
More than 300 people from across the region, as well as several local companies, have visited the Tabuk exhibition thus far. The village took three months to construct.
The Tabuk region is home to coastlines that span five regions, including the province of Taima, and castles that tell tales of the past.
“All the materials used in building the village and its houses were brought in from Tabuk,” said Saeed.

Hadaj Well
The festival has for the first time included a simulation of the historic well of Hadaj, the second most famous well after Zamzam in Makkah.
Hadaj is a landmark in the Tabuk region and is found at the center of Taima.
Almost 12 meters deep and 65 meters wide, it is one of the largest in the Arabian Peninsula and dates back to the 6th century BC.
The well is covered with polished stones and can accommodate about 100 camels at a time during the summer months. Water is transferred from the well through 31 stone-based channels.
The well’s distinct characteristics have been featured in famous poems over the years.

Handicrafts and regional heritage
A total of 45 people took part in producing handicraft art, including embroidery and carpentry, at the festival.
Abdul Aziz Hassan Halawani, a professional caulker, showcased his work at the village. Halawani oversees all the stages of the boat-building process, from determining their size to installing wooden slabs inside them.
Halwani has taken part in several local and international competitions and has won several awards, including one for his distinct craftsmanship.
A heritage dance group, meanwhile, showed visitors what Tabuk weddings were about.

Saudi Arabia delivers ‘early warning’ on preterm births

Updated 21 November 2019

Saudi Arabia delivers ‘early warning’ on preterm births

  • Cost of care, long-term health issues a challenge for hospitals, says expert

JEDDAH: Up to 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year in Saudi Arabia with hospitals in the Kingdom spending up to SR60,000 ($16,000) on individual treatment and specialized care, a leading pediatrician told Arab News.

Dr. Sawsan Hussein Daffa, consultant neonatologist and head of pediatrics department at the Aya Specialist Hospital, said that the Saudi Ministry of Health is working to ensure premature infants get the best medical help possible, in addition to assisting families, despite the high cost.

“Premature births can cost hospitals and insurance companies as much as SR100,000 ($26,667),” she said. “Services provided to care for premature babies can cost hospitals SR50,000-60,000 during the infant’s stay.”

Daffa was speaking after World Prematurity Day on Nov. 17.

Any child born before 36 weeks of the gestational age is called premature.

“The particularly small babies are placed in incubators for a period of time ranging from 30 to 60 days. This can cost government hospitals/insurance companies around SR60,000. Some others are placed there for longer periods and can even cost SR100,000,” she said.

However, the consultant said that up to 28 percent of premature babies die due to complications.

The Saudi Health Ministry’s website said that some preterm births are likely to have more health problems than babies born on time. “These may face long-term health problems affecting the brain, lungs, hearing or vision.”

“One of the most life-threatening problems is respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), which can cause babies to need extra oxygen and help with breathing. RDS occurs when there is not enough surfactant in the lungs. This substance, made by the lungs, keeps the airways open and helps babies breathe,” she said.

Daffa said that a baby with RDS is usually kept on a respiratory machine and receives surfactant.

“Premature babies are put in incubators until they are 1.8 to 2kg. This normally needs a month or two. Sometimes, they are placed there for three months depending on the weight of the premature child when they were born. The less they weigh, the more time they need to spend in the incubator,” she said.

Daffa said that World Prematurity Day was first celebrated 11 years ago in Italy when the families of premature infants gathered. “It has been celebrated yearly since then,” she said.

“It is an occasion during which physicians work on promoting awareness among families, especially pregnant women, to prevent preterm births. It is also a chance to spread awareness as to how to help premature babies avoid diseases.”

The consultant said that a premature baby grows differently from a full-term baby in their early years.

“These babies may start walking later than their peers. Sometimes complications can affect their brains and thus, they join school late, too,” she said. But she said that by the age of 10 their development was similar to that of other children.

The neonatologist advised parents of premature children to attend events to help their children avoid complications.

“Pregnant mothers should follow up with their doctors to detect problems early and find solutions. They should also follow a diet rich in proteins, folic acid and minerals,” she added. 

Daffa said a special vaccine given to premature babies could protect them against the respiratory syncytial virus, which normally hits premature infants from October to March.

According to a 2018 report by the World Health Organization, more than 60 percent of preterm births occur in Africa and South Asia, but preterm birth is a global problem. In lower-income countries, on average 12 percent of babies are born too early compared with 9 percent in higher-income countries, the report said.

Within countries, poorer families are at higher risk, it added.