Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

Sultan Al-Zaidi (L) and Fahad Al-Jubeir.
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Updated 21 September 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

  • Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents

JEDDAH: Alkhobar municipality, along with Europe’s largest industrial manufacturing company Siemens, has been hailed as a role model for management excellence and business continuity.
The municipality has been awarded international certification for its excellence in managing crises and risks under difficult circumstances, in recognition of its administrative achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quality Austria (QA) awarded Alkhobar Municipality and Siemens with ISO 22301 and ISO 9001 certificates, which are concerned with business continuity management, especially during the pandemic.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent and nongovernmental body. Its standards are internationally agreed by experts and are seen as the best way of doing something.
Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents.
Its mayor, Sultan bin Hamid Al-Zaidi, said that the municipality’s ISO achievement was in line with achieving the goals of the Eastern Province municipality. He added that the aim was to make Alkhobar a distinguished city, like other places in the province.
The Mayor of the Eastern Province, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Jubeir, said that municipalities were keen to implement the most advanced administrative systems and provide the best services to beneficiaries.
“This comes in line with the objectives of municipal transformation, part of the National Transformation Program 2020 of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan which states that the Kingdom, with its outputs and services, should provide an international role model of quality and mastery, and raise the level of services provided by services and economic development agencies and enterprises,” Al-Jubeir told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.

He added that the municipality had launched initiatives and programs seeking to make the Eastern Province and its governorates pioneers in administrative and service qualities, as well as improving public services.
According to QA’s regional manager, Dr. Mohamed Hassan, business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.
“These instructions are then transformed into applicable programs and strategies at the amana (provincial government) level,” he wrote in an article. “Since the Eastern Province is, in this respect, the leading province in the Kingdom, the guidelines are finalized in consultation with the EP’s mayor, Fahad Al-Jubeir.”
The article gave examples of Alkhobar’s strategic emergency plans and said it had made arrangements with companies such as Al-Yamama for the prevention of damage from flash floods or storms.
It added that other public contractors, such as Nabatat, ensured that green spaces and parks in the city remained relaxing destinations for people, even on exceptionally hot summer days.
“A successful example of service digitization is the Balady software, which makes all municipality services available to citizens online. Moreover, the Balagat software offers a service in which complaints and suggestions from citizens can be reported and followed up online,” the article said. “If a complaint is not solved within 24 hours, it is automatically forwarded to the mayor of the Eastern Province, Al-Jubeir.”
The ministry’s foresight in initiating plans and preparations, the online software systems used and the high-quality standards in the municipality all helped in increasing the effectiveness of the business continuity management system.


Saudi Arabia turns to ‘digital health’ amid outbreak

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly. (SPA)
Updated 27 min 56 sec ago

Saudi Arabia turns to ‘digital health’ amid outbreak

  • Health Ministry reports 217 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s health sector has accelerated  its digital transformation during the coronavirus pandemic, paving the way  for future projects to expand and improve services in  the Kingdom.
The Kingdom’s health minister, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, highlighted the ministry’s efforts during the HIMSS and Health 2.0 Middle East Digital Health Conference and Exhibition on Sunday, a joint collaboration with the ministry, the Saudi Health Council and the Saudi Commission for Heath Specialities.
“Saudi Arabia has taken digital health as a priority for the development of health services,” he said.
“A number of projects have been launched such as the ‘Mawid’ app that allows users to book (medical) appointments. More than 14 million users have registered in the app and more than 60 million appointments have been made through it.”
The minister added that services provided in recent months have greatly helped both citizens and the health sector. Communication between doctors and patients has increased, cutting time for dispensing medications.
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told a press conference on Sunday that residents are playing a major role in curbing the spread of the virus by adhering to health protocols.
A total of 217 new cases were recorded on Sunday, bringing the total in the Kingdom to 357,128.

FASTFACTS

357,128 Total cases

346,409 Recoveries

Al-Aly said that health breaches in a number of provinces in the Riyadh, Makkah and Jazan regions have led to a slight increase in cases, prompting authorities to cite violators for ignoring protocols.
In total, 12,855 violations have been recorded in the past week, with the highest number in Makkah with 3,290 violations, followed by Qassim with 1,980 and Riyadh with 1,956. Meanwhile, 386 new recoveries have been recorded, raising the total number to 346,409. The Kingdom’s recovery rate is almost 97 percent.
A total of 14 new deaths have been recorded, raising the overall toll to 5,884. For the first time in more than seven months, the number of active cases has dropped below the 5,000 mark. There are currently 4,835 active cases, including 674 in critical care. Of the active cases, 418 are in Riyadh, 259 in Madinah, 254 in Hofuf, and 212 in Makkah.