Saudi Arabia’s first vaccine recipients praise ‘excellent’ health centers

Medical staff dotting the center’s clinics are now handling those aged over 65, healthcare workers and those with chronic diseases — the groups targeted in the first phase of the vaccine rollout. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah))
Medical staff dotting the center’s clinics are now handling those aged over 65, healthcare workers and those with chronic diseases — the groups targeted in the first phase of the vaccine rollout. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah))
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Updated 31 December 2020

Saudi Arabia’s first vaccine recipients praise ‘excellent’ health centers

Medical staff dotting the center’s clinics are now handling those aged over 65, healthcare workers and those with chronic diseases — the groups targeted in the first phase of the vaccine rollout. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah))
  • Staff trained in soft skills that help in learning patients’ medical history and responding to queries

JEDDAH: Equipped with trained staff members and the capacity to handle thousands of coronavirus vaccine recipients at a time, Saudi Arabia’s vaccine centers continue to provide their services for all of the Kingdom’s residents with ease.
With the launch of the largest nationwide vaccination campaign on Dec. 18, the first center opened in Riyadh and the second at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport South Terminal opened its doors less than a week later. Arab News visited the Jeddah site to learn about the center’s work.
Dr. Mohammed Felemban, medical director at the health surveillance center at King Abdulaziz International Airport, said a large number of vaccination spots have been set up to reach as many people as possible.
“The first vaccination site was launched in Jeddah at King Abdulaziz International Airport South Terminal, with unlimited support from the leadership,” Felemban told Arab News. “Almost 83 vaccination points have been placed so far to ensure that all vaccines reach the largest possible groups.”
He added that the number of clinics will increase to over 450.
Upon arrival, recipients who have registered for the vaccine through the ministry’s Sehaty app will go through a number of steps.
They will pass through the entry point, where there will be a visual triage to check their temperatures and a registration site to confirm their information. Then there is a short waiting period before they are guided to their assigned clinic. After receiving the vaccine, recipients will head to a recovery zone to wait for 15 minutes before being discharged.
Trained medical staff dotting the center’s clinics are now handling those aged over 65, healthcare workers and individuals with chronic diseases — the groups targeted in the first phase of the vaccine rollout.




Saudi Arabia’s vaccine centers continue to provide their services for all of the Kingdom’s residents with ease.. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah))

Dr. Ahmed Hawsawi, clinical program director at the center, explained the training that healthcare workers have received to handle the vaccine.
“All health professionals engaging in this job have been through intensive training. We can call it technical training that covers the vaccine itself and all the interactions with the vaccine in terms of the efficacy, side effects and all the tactics of the preparation, and so on,” Hawsawi told Arab News.
The other side of the technical training includes injection training, which teaches the use of needles and appropriate injection sites.
“All of the staff have been selected well in terms of their clinical experience and the competency needed for the project,” he said.
Staff have also undergone soft skills training, covering communication and assessment skills that help in learning patients’ medical history and responding to queries.
Hawsawi added: “This education is not only for giving the first dose. The center’s staff have ongoing support. There’s an assigned member of the team who is responsible for making sure that training is ongoing, and who continues the momentum of teaching, developing and even answering and coaching staff on anything that is needed during their service in the centers. It’s a holistic training.”
The training also covers the relationships between different teams within the center in an interdisciplinary fashion. “We have an admin team, customer service team as well as an information desk team. They all work together to start the service.”
Waleed Mutter, CEO of STC Specialized, received the vaccine on Monday. He registered as soon as he heard the news of the rollout, and like many in the Kingdom’s Western Region, he waited his turn until he received the call to attend the center, just a few days after its opening.
“When the vaccine was made available, I registered,” he told Arab News. “I have full trust in our government that they will not import anything that isn’t good for us. For this reason, I was one of the first people to register on the first day.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Upon arrival, recipients who have registered for the vaccine through the ministry’s Sehaty app will go through a number of steps.

• They will pass through the entry point, where there will be a visual triage to check their temperatures and a registration site to confirm their information.

• Then there is a short waiting period before they are guided to their assigned clinic. After receiving the vaccine, recipients will head to a recovery zone to wait for 15 minutes before being discharged.

He added: “When I registered, everyone around me asked why did I do this? They said it was better to wait. I didn’t listen to them and I came to get vaccinated with full trust that it is good and has no consequences. As far as I’m concerned, this worry has occurred with every vaccine created.”
Mutter applauded the center for their well-organized services and responsive staff. “The center is very organized. It didn’t even take five minutes for me to reach the vaccination site. The team here is very cooperative and friendly, with great reception. I took the vaccine on my left arm and they told me to wait for 15 minutes to monitor me, because in the first 15 minutes after vaccination there might be nausea and such.”
An Indian business development manager at Zahid Travel, Shakeel Sultan, shared the same sentiment and was happy with the center’s arrangement throughout all its courses.
“I have taken my COVID-19 shot and I am grateful for this arrangement. It’s excellent. I could see everything organized and on time. The hygiene, the arrangements, the reception, the parking; everything is perfect. I recommend people of my community and all fellow expatriates to avoid listening to the rumors. Everything is fine. Go ahead and save yourselves,” he said.


Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs
Updated 25 September 2021

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

DHAHRAN: In celebration of the 91st Saudi National Day, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture has launched programs and activities to highlight diversity across the Kingdom.

Ithra will engage visitors through a cultural journey that embodies the unity of the Saudi people and their interdependence, from north to south and from east to west, through the Tafaseel exhibition.

The exhibition will express the diversity of fashion as part of Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage across regions, as well as telling stories about the civilizations that inhabited them.

The national day activities aim to present a collection of interactive art, performances, traditional local crafts, cultural activities, workshops, and knowledge-based games for all age groups.

The activities continue until Saturday.

 


Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees
Updated 25 September 2021

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques announced on Friday that it has so far trained around 600 female employees of its agencies or assisting agencies.

The Women’s Development Affairs Agency, led by Al-Anoud Al-Aboud, deputy president for women’s development affairs, employs 310 of those women.

Around 200 women work for the Agency for Women’s Scientific, Intellectual and Guidance Affairs, led by Noura Al-Thuwaibi.

The rest of the trained women work at the Agency for Women’s Administrative and Service Affairs, under the leadership of Kamelia Al-Daadi, the general presidency said in a statement.

 

 


Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day
Updated 25 September 2021

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia joined the international community by participating in World Sign Day, celebrated on Sept. 23.

The Ministry of Health implemented the “We Are with You” initiative to support deaf people, raising staff awareness about the deaf community. The MOH trained its staff to work with individuals who are deaf, teaching them sign language rules and basics, and helping them find ways to support deaf patients overcome challenges.

Sign language includes 35 manual symbols, each representing a letter of the alphabet, and five other symbols representing diacritics.

The Arabic language also includes numbers in its sign language system; Arabic sign language includes 53 manual symbols representing number, in single or multiple digits.

The MOH also launched the Awlawiya (Priority) Card, one of the Patient Experience Center’s initiatives to facilitate and accelerate procedures and services provided to some groups (including the deaf) inside health facilities.

 

 

Other electronic services include the Queries on Treatment Abroad Orders Service and the Mawid (Appointment) Service.

Moreover, it launched the Online Registration initiative for people with disabilities, including the deaf, through its E-Health system. The platform enables MOH officials to follow up on registration and classification electronically, as well as oversee the issuance of Transportation Discount Cards and Traffic Facilitation Cards.

The MOH linked the E-Health platform with other authorities, such as the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and the Ministry of Education, by automating all procedures to ensure speed and uniformity of service provision. Furthermore, the ministry launched the Eshara app, which provides direct services to the deaf and hearing-impaired, and which allows them to benefit from the services offered by the 937 Service Center.

The app allows visual communication between deaf people and the remote sign interpretation communication center; the interpreter translates the signs as a third party through the digital platform by converting the sign language to spoken Arabic (and vice versa), serving as a mediator between the employee and the deaf person.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a series of training programs about sign language basics in its branches in the Kingdom, trained its members and employees in all sectors to understand sign language, and raised their awareness on how to communicate with deaf people to ensure access of all services with ease.

Decoder

'We Are with You' campaign

It is the Saudi Ministry of Health initiative to support deaf people, raising staff awareness about the deaf community, teaching them sign language rules and basics, and helping them find ways to support deaf patients overcome challenges.


ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization
Updated 25 September 2021

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara,  in KSA's Northern Borders region, shows signs of civilization during late late Roman period 

Dawqara is located 40 kilometers west of At-Turaif, near a mountain known as Aqrun or Dawqara. The site is registered in a comprehensive archeological survey program.

Rainwater accumulates on the northern side of the site and forms a large lake. The southern side is made up of volcanic rocks with many stone circles. Some stone tools have also been found.

One of the site’s most important artifacts is a square palace that was built from large volcanic stones. Its construction takes into consideration the straightness and solidity of pillars, linked by clay.

The palace’s door is located in the middle of the eastern wall and is 2.85 meters long. The palace comprises two parts. The first is a yard that constitutes the largest part of the building. The second has seven rooms on the western wall, each 4.5 meters wide.

The history of the palace is not clear, as an archeological excavation is required to extract, study and compare artifacts. 

But, according to preliminary studies, the palace was built in the pre-Islamic era and there is other evidence indicating that it was used until the Umayyad era. 


Pakistani spends four decades in service of Makkah’s Grand Mosque

Pakistani spends four decades in service of Makkah’s Grand Mosque
Updated 25 September 2021

Pakistani spends four decades in service of Makkah’s Grand Mosque

Pakistani spends four decades in service of Makkah’s Grand Mosque
  • The Pakistani worker witnessed the restoration of the Kaaba during the reign of the late King Fahd and said it was one of the most important and beautiful stages of his life
  • 61-year-old Qandal is a supervisor for sanitation work at the Grand Mosque

MAKKAH: Ahmed Khan Qandal, who came from Mandi Bahauddin in Pakistan in late 1983 at the age of 23, never thought that he would spend the next 40 years of his life in Saudi Arabia, specifically as a sanitation worker at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Qandal initially promised his parents he would return home as soon as possible. But Makkah and the service of the Grand Mosque kept him preoccupied as his parents have since passed on.
The years flew by and today the 61-year-old Qandal is a supervisor for sanitation work at the Grand Mosque.
His memory is made up of different Saudi events, the most important of which were the Grand Mosque’s second and third Saudi expansions projects, and the Kaaba restoration project.
“Since I came to Saudi Arabia almost 40 years ago, I felt that I was among family and I never felt alienated,” Qandal told Arab News. 
“Whenever I meet someone new, they tell me how lucky I am
to be able to serve the Grand Mosque and pray there. I was always near the Holy Kaaba and this is a great honor that only a person with a special relationship with God can have. I was blessed to be able to do this work for four decades.”
He noted that he came to Saudi Arabia during the reign of the late King Fahd bin Abdulaziz. 

“I worked in cleaning the outer courtyards, and approximately four years later, the second Saudi expansion of the Grand Mosque happened,” Qandal said. “I was a witness to how Muslims began to perform their rituals more comfortably.”
The Pakistani worker witnessed the restoration of the Kaaba during the reign of the late King Fahd and said it was one of the most important and beautiful stages of his life.
Qandal believes God chose him to witness many significant events, including the third Saudi expansion during the reign of the late King Abdullah.
Aside from his time at the Grand Mosque, Qandal also worked with a cleaning company for 11 years until he moved to the Saudi Binladin Group. Over the years, he became known for his efficiency and hard work.
Working with warm, welcoming people from all over the world is what has stuck out the most for Qandal during his time at the Grand Mosque.
“We were all loving brothers,” he said. “All the workers in the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosques and the Prophet’s Mosque operate as a united team to show the Two Holy Mosques in the best way possible.”
Qandal has two sons and a daughter. One of his sons works in the electrical department at the Grand Mosque and the other is with his sister in Pakistan.
He stressed that his wish is to be buried in Makkah, the city he lives in, pointing out that whoever lives in the service of the Two Holy Mosques cannot in any way feel bored or lonely.
“Happiness, love, harmony, tolerance, mercy, and peace can be found in all corners of the Grand Mosque,” Qandal said. “Where Muslims coming from all over the world come to praise God.”