Saudi Arabia honors Pakistani doctor for role in COVID-19 fight

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Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz, head of the Intensive Care Unit at the King Salman Hospital in Riyadh, can be seen with his colleagues holding a certificate of appreciation on Sept. 23. (Photo courtesy: Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz)
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Updated 26 September 2020

Saudi Arabia honors Pakistani doctor for role in COVID-19 fight

  • Dr. Mumtaz’s efforts not only reduced virus mortality rate at King Salman Hospital but also turned it into the first green medical facility

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani doctor has been recognized by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health for his services as a team leader in the Kingdom’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“In recognition of my services as head of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the King Salman Hospital, I was given a leadership award and an appreciation certificate by the Saudi health ministry,” Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz told Arab News during a phone interview from Riyadh on Saturday. He was presented with the award during a ceremony to mark Saudi National Day on Sept. 23.

Hailing from Layyah, a small city in southern Punjab, Mumtaz has been working in Saudi Arabia for the last 18 years. Before his appointment at the King Salman Hospital, he worked as a director at the King Saud Medical City. He also served as an ICU head at Al-Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah, and Jabal Al-Rahmah Hospital, Arafat.

“At the outset of the pandemic, the COVID-19 mortality rate was very high at the King Salman Hospital. That is the reason why I was brought here as the ICU head — to increase the hospital’s capacity to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic,” he said.

Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz is sitting in his office at the King Salman Hospital in Riyadh. (Photo courtesy: Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz) 

Mumtaz said that he succeeded in bringing down these deaths by 10 percent during the last five months, due to better team management and greater use of modern techniques and technology.

“The mortality rate related to COVID-19 in international ICUs is around 30 percent, since very critical patients are shifted to these units. The ICU at the King Salman Hospital has remained under 10 percent during the last five months,” he said.

“During all this time, I have not taken a single leave and have worked for 18-20 hours a day,” he continued.

“After joining, I immediately expanded the ICU from 14 to 60 beds. We used the helmet technology that is mostly preferred in Spain and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, which is recommended by Americans. They both produced impressive results in our hospital during the pandemic,” he said.

Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz is doing a morning round with members of his Intensive Care Unit team at the King Salman Hospital in Riyadh on Aug. 18. (Photo courtesy: Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz) 

Mumtaz said that the King Salman Hospital was converted into a non-COVID-19, green hospital on Sept. 1.

“We received a lot of appreciation from the Saudi health ministry,” he added.

“It helped in the surgical treatment of general patients, which had to be stopped due to the influx of COVID-19 patients.”

The Kingdom recorded a significant drop in COVID-19 cases and related deaths in the last few days. The total number of recoveries in Saudi Arabia increased to 315,636 after 843 more patients recently recovered from the virus.

Meanwhile, 4,625 people have also succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

Updated 27 November 2020

Saudi investors share expertise on Saudi corporate VC opportunities

JEDDAH: The two-day Step Saudi 2020 event featured two prominent Saudi figures in the field of investment on the second day.
Hashim Al-Awadi, CEO of Tech Invest, and Salman Jaffery, chief investment officer at Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, both shared their expertise, with the latter saying it is more beneficial for corporations to start a venture capital (VC) arm than invest from their current mergers and acquisitions arm (M&A).
Managing partner at Class 5 Global, Zach Finkelstein, who moderated the session on the second day of the event, said the San Francisco-based venture fund invested in a number of companies in the Middle East.
“The Middle East is particularly interesting to us, and in the past, our partners have invested in such regional companies as Careem. We’re excited to explore the development of the corporate VC space and how it can impact places like Saudi Arabia,” he added.
When asked why a corporation should start a VC arm instead of investing from an M&A team, and why have a separate corporate Venture Capital arm in the first place, Jaffery answered that “it brings faster results.”
“I think the easiest answer to that is just speed and agility,” he said. “Getting that response quickly to the market. VC deals can take weeks or months whereas an M&A transaction can take up to a year or longer, and also similarly, if you’re trying to then come out of it, it’s harder to come out of a joint venture agreement or an M&A as opposed to a VC.”
Al-Awadi explained his opinion a traditional VC perspective, and said: “We like the fact that corporations can invest from both their M&A arms and their VC arms if they have them.”
He highlighted that VC arms can invest in a greater variety of companies. “You have the intelligence, you know the market and if you’re looking at specific technology where we don’t have a lot of expertise we trust that you (other venture capitalists) know the market and you can evaluate that technology better to see if it has the capability and potential for growth or not.
“Eventually, you do have an M&A arm that will provide an exit for us, for an incentive for this company to work hard to grasp the intention after having been invested in by the VC arm of this big corporate to maybe look into making a partial agreement or complete acquisition, which really adds an incentive for the company to grow and attracts other investors and also attracts talent to join the company and help it grow even more.”
He said both the VC and M&A arm are important for company growth. “We tend to look at corporate investors through both arms as complementary to what we do when we have both of them around.”
The Kingdom has obtained a high reputation among investors internationally through the years, especially after the economic and social reforms of Saudi Vision 2030.
Step Saudi is home to the Kingdom’s best entrepreneurs, investors, creatives and digital enthusiasts. The last edition of Step Saudi featured four content tracks, more than 100 startups and over 1,500 attendees.