Tagwa Omer

King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia

Title: Mass gathering health care and disaster management in Saudi Arabia


Tagwa Omer completed her Ph.D. on Nursing and Certifi cation on Quality Improvement and Outcome Management in 2005 from George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. She is working now as the Dean of the College of Nursing-Jeddah at King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA), Saudi Arabia. At the same time, she holds the post of chairperson of the Saudi Nursing Board at the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties. She has published 4 papers in reputed journals.


Introduction: Th e world is witnessing an increase in the number and varieties of mass gathering event, crowed accidents and natural and man-made disasters. Th ese are associated with well-defi ned environment, health and related aff ects both acute and long term. Mass gathering and disasters health care and management is evolving as a well-defi ned specialty or area of interest not only to public health and emergency medicine specialists but extending to a variety of other specialists like internists, surgeons, pediatricians, family physicians and to pharmacists, paramedics like nursing, emergency and medical assistants. Mass Gathering in Saudi Arabia: Th e annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is among the largest mass gatherings in the world. Hajj draws about 3 million Muslims from around the world each year during the last fi ve years. Umrah is a similar pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time of the year, but it is likely to be more crowded during the month of Ramadan than at other times of the year. Over the years, Hajj has been a major public health challenge that required an undivided attention from a number of governmental and non-governmental sectors in Saudi Arabia. Th e MOH has a fundamental mission during the Hajj season stating: 1. Provision of the best health care for pilgrims. 2. Continuous expansion of health facilities. 3. Assignment of qualifi ed health personnel. 4. Making eff ort to avoid bottle neck at health facilities. 5. Setting "Emergency or Disaster Plans" in coordination with other relevant sectors. Protection of the people resident in Saudi Arabia against the potential risk factors or diseases. Th e sectors that collaborate with the MOH include the National Guard Health Affairs, Red Crescent, Civil Defense, Medical Department at Ministry of Interior and others. All sectors work in a multidisciplinary team approach to cover the preventive, curative and promotion of health needs of the pilgrims and to achieve stated objectives. Th e crowds, mass gatherings such as Hajj and Umrah are associated with unique health risks. Th e accumulated management experience and health care delivery during such events justify establishing a well-structured training program. Th e intended program shall fulfill such needs and exceeds the local interest and experiences to regional and international dimensions.

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