Saudi Arabia June Roundup

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Fraser Clarke

Hajj Health Recommendations

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MoH) has published its recommendations and requirements for those travelling to the country for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Well over two million people are expected to arrive in the Desert Kingdom from around the world for the event, leading to a greater than usual risk of infectious disease spreading.

As always the MoH have put strict protocols in place to try and prevent any issues. Anyone travelling from a location where they are at risk of Yellow Fever must have a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, whilst visitors also need to have had a meningococcal vaccine administered at least ten days prior to their arrival in the country.

Polio and seasonal influenza are also areas of concern, with the Ministry publishing advice for travellers to follow to reduce the risk of infection spreading: From using disposable tissues to avoiding consuming unpasteurized milk.

Latest MERS Figures

14 cases of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) were reported in Saudi Arabia last month, with four being fatal.

MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first identified as a major issue in Saudi Arabia over four years ago. It is believed to be transported by camels, however the exact science behind this factor still remains unknown. This also means that it is untreatable, with around 36% of patients suffering from the condition dying as a result of it.

Typically the symptoms can range from a simple fever like cough, to shortness of breath and diarrhoea, whilst in patients with long term health conditions such as Cancer and Diabetes the side effects can be far more debilitating.

Despite the loss of life however, the World Health Organisation believe that proactive measures taken by the Saudi Ministry of Health have been effective in preventing a much larger outbreak.

Healthcare Workforce Grows

Saudi Arabia is now home to almost half a million healthcare workers according to the latest figures, including 104,759 Saudi and non-Saudi doctors and dentists.

According to the Ministry of Health’s figures, 88,023 doctors are currently in the Desert Kingdom - with 28,865 non-Saudis working for the country’s Ministry of Health, compared with 16,706 natives.

In the private sector the split was even more stark, with over 22,000 of the 24,000 medics employed being from overseas - showing that the largest number of opportunities for doctors remains in the private system.

The statistics were similar in dentistry, with 9,465 of the 11,184 working in the private sector being expats, whilst Saudi nationals made up the majority of the small public system.

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