AlUla’s Aman resorts will be first of their kind in Mideast

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Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al-Saud signs the agreement with Aman CEO Vladislav Doronin on Monday. (SPA)
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Updated 07 August 2019

AlUla’s Aman resorts will be first of their kind in Mideast

  • The new resorts hope to be an attractive destination for residents of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region and the growing number of tourists from around the world

JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced a partnership with renowned hotel and resort brand Aman.
Culture Minister and RCU Gov. Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al-Saud signed the agreement with Aman Chairman and CEO Vladislav Doronin on Monday. The partnership covers the development of the first three Aman resorts in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
Prince Badr said that Aman’s decision to base its first Middle Eastern property in AlUla “shows the promise and progress of the vision for AlUla to become a worldwide destination for those seeking unique experiences. I believe this partnership will be the next step in the development of the yet-to-be-discovered masterpiece that is AlUla.”
Doronin was also enthused by the partnership. He said: “Many of our existing Aman destinations are located in areas of outstanding natural beauty and rich history. With the addition of spectacular AlUla, this takes us to 10 properties situated near or in UNESCO heritage sites, making it a fitting location for our first destination in the Middle East.”
The RCU told Arab News about the new elements Aman is bringing into the Kingdom that differentiates it from other brands. It said: “Aman is an experiential brand capturing the imagination of the global travel cognoscenti. They have an innovative approach where the experience of guests takes center stage in places that are off the beaten track.
“Aman works in a way of making visitors ‘get under the skin’ of their destination and learn about it in a personal, authentic way that doesn’t feel staged.”
The new resorts hope to be an attractive destination for residents of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region and the growing number of tourists from around the world.
“Our partnership with Aman will put the world on notice that we are open for business and help to encourage other global brands to partner with us,” the RCU said.
The first Aman property will be a spa resort with 30 luxury tents, situated within a serene and secluded mountain valley, close to many cultural and heritage areas in AlUla.
The second resort will be developed in an area that uncovers AlUla’s splendor and nature, strengthened with the hotel brand’s commitment to create an unparalleled experience to its guests in awe-inspiring locations.
Its third resort will explore a desert ranch with panoramic views of AlUla’s beautiful nature.
The design work on the three resorts is set to begin in the coming months, and they will welcome their first guests by 2023. 
The partnership falls in line with the RCU’s strategic plan to expand tourism in AlUla by welcoming top hotel operators, developers, investors and other business opportunities that will transform it into a destination for visitors from around the globe.


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.