Govt ready to deal with heat, coronavirus in Makkah
The Ministry of Health has drawn up an integrated plan to provide comprehensive health care services to the increased number of Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.
The ministry has also made arrangements to deal with all types of medical cases, including emergency cases related to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Focus has been shifted on the health situation because the recent advent of the deadly virus, coupled with school holidays and the Umrah season, means an increased risk of infection.
In fact, over 500 doctors and paramedical personnel are being posted throughout Makkah to cope with the Ramadan rush.
The Health Ministry will operate five health centers surrounding the Grand Mosque.
These health centers will be situated at the Ajyad Al-Sufli gate, the Ajyad Al-Alwi gate, gate 94, gate 64 and the Nadwa gate.
“All these centers will work around the clock with additional resources,” said Dr. Abdul Salam Noor Wali, Health Ministry director in Makkah.
“The centers have specialized medical staff, technicians, nurses and medical supplies and include separate sections for men and women.”
“The centers will provide first aid, primary health care and ambulance services for emergency cases. More serious cases will be referred to general hospitals in Makkah.”
“There are also 29 permanent primary health care centers in Makkah and three more under establishment this year,” he said.
“The region has also employed extra doctors, nurses and technicians to meet the growing need for medical services during Ramadan.”
“In fact, Makkah’s hospitals are fully equipped to work at full capacity during the holy month,” said Noor Wali.
“The ministry is taking precautionary measures against the coronavirus,” he said.
“Pamphlets about preventive measures against the virus are being circulated by the dozen at various entry points and other public places.”
“Suspected cases will immediately be shifted to Jeddah.”
Al-Noor Specialist Hospital, a premier health care facility in the holy city, is being equipped with additional logistical capabilities to cope with the increased influx of pilgrims during the month of Ramadan.
The hospital receives an average of 1,000 cases per day.
Waiting time has been reduced to 10 minutes from 30 minutes per patient at the hospital’s emergency wards, said sources.
Authorities have renovated the hospital to ensure high-level patient care and surveillance cameras have also been installed, according to officials. The Health Ministry provided medical care to 150,000 pilgrims last Ramadan at both Makkah and Madinah.
There have been no MERS cases reported during the current season so far.