The Ministry of Health (MoH) has drawn up a coordinated contingency plan to counter emergency situations that might arise during this year’s Haj season.
According to an official from the MoH, the team will be composed of more than 100 doctors and around 250 paramedics will work in various places in the holy cities to help pilgrims receive immediate emergency medical treatment. The plan is also geared to attend to natural calamities such as floods, earth slips and crowd congestion.
The ministry has deployed 80 fully-equipped ambulances and 55 mini ambulances to wade through crowds to treat and transport sick pilgrims. The mini ambulances, which are also fully equipped, are meant for transportation to the holy sites of Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina, he said, adding that there are some 25 ambulances and 10 more mini-mobile medical vehicles stationed in Makkah to serve the pilgrims in that part of the holy city.
He pointed out that the medical personnel in the team were chosen from among experienced cadres from various disciplines in all parts of the Kingdom. They are also trained in emergency work to cope, renal and hypertension, dehydrated and accidents among patients.
The GPS-enabled mini-ambulances are fully equipped with state-of-the art medical apparatus to handle emergency and ICU patients. In addition, the ministry has detailed a total of 13 ambulances at a strategic point in Makkah to move patients in emergency situations.
Last year, the ministry distributed some 42 ambulances to all parts of the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. The ministry has also deployed a fleet of motorcycles to reach patients in places where regular vehicles cannot find their way due to congestion.
In 2011, a total of 2,500 patients were ferried to various clinics and hospitals with the help of these mobile vehicles, and the medical team treated more than 15,000 pilgrims in need of emergency treatment.