Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Health Ministry activates Haj emergency services
The Ministry of Health has launched an emergency service to Haj pilgrims with 135 ambulances supported by 350 doctors in the holy city of Makkah.
"The services will be intensified from Nov. 4 to 9 in places such as Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina," Dr. Tariq bin Salim Al-Arnos, chairman of the emergency and field medical services committee of the Ministry of Health, announced here on Wednesday.
Al-Arnos explained that the fleet of ambulances included 80 mini ambulances and 55 large vehicles that would be used to ferry sick Hajis from the medical clinics to hospitals in Jeddah.
"We have deployed mini ambulances so that the vehicles could creep even into the large crowd of pilgrims, who would be using the roads and alleys," the official said, adding that the Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) would also detail five air ambulances to transport patients in emergency situations in cooperation with the General Authority for Civil Aviation.
The official said the entire fleet of ambulances is fully equipped with all modern facilities to carry intensive care unit patients on board. The paramedics who will be in the vehicles are qualified to handle all types of patients in emergency situations, he said.
"We have also trained our staff for any medical evacuation plans, and we have reviewed and rechecked all medical and safety equipment in hospitals, especially those for detection of smoke and heat, and fire alarms," Al-Arnos said.
"We have completed 17 emergency centers at the Jamrat Bridge," he noted, adding that they are manned by 130 doctors and nurses around the clock.
The five medical helicopters that will be in use during Haj will serve the holy sites and ring roads around Makkah and Madinah.
Besides the helicopters, about 150 SRCA personnel, including pilots, doctors, engineers and technicians, will be on hand around the clock.
Pilgrims can also report emergencies to the Saudi Red Crescent Authority by calling 997.
Helipads have been arranged in five hospitals to receive patients who need emergency treatment during the season. The five hospitals are King Abdullah Medical City, Al-Noor Specialist Hospital, the Emergency Hospital in Mina, Arafat General Hospital and Hira Hospital.
To offer a comprehensive service to the pilgrims, Al-Arnos said the mobile unit would move with the pilgrims during the final phase of the Haj from Arafat to Muzdalifah and then finally to Mina.