A Journey Together: Leveraging Localization for Hajj Healthcare
One fifth of humankind shares a single aspiration: to complete, at least once in a lifetime, the spiritual journey called the Hajj. Equal in scale to the summer Olympic games – the Hajj welcomes more than three million people from across the globe.
Over a nearly two-week period, pilgrims perform the Hajj ritual in the Holy City of Makkah, Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina, walking an open-air route that covers more than 40 kilometers in total. Often the weather is warm and a number of pilgrims are elderly. Many are challenged with health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure. In light of this, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health has taken on the challenge to strengthen the healthcare services extended to these millions of pilgrims.
Supporting these efforts during Hajj 2012, GE Healthcare worked with the Ministry to offer advanced healthcare technologies, personnel support in operating the equipment, and preparatory training to medical professionals at 16 hospitals in the Holy City of Makkah and the Mashaer area, as well as at nearly 300 other medical centers.
Additionally, GE field engineers shifted operations, as the pilgrims moved between Arafat, and Mina and Makkah.
The scale of services provided to pilgrims is apparent by the number of people assessed and treated using more than 1,200 advanced GE medical systems:
· More than 1,500 patients benefited from the use of the CT scans
· Over 120 people were provided MR scans
· More than 2,500 x-rays were taken
· More than 450 ultrasound scans were performed
· Thousands of people benefited from anesthesia and vital-signs equipment
For GE, which has been operating as a partner to the Kingdom for 80 years, supporting the Ministry at this sacred time reflects the great power of partnership.
Because the Hajj is such a profoundly unique event, both partnership and localization are vital to bringing the best technology and manpower to support the care of Hajj pilgrims. Localization included bringing engineers and training personnel to Makkah during the Hajj season and deploying staff to the right geographies as the Hajj progressed. It also meant being ready for unexpected emergencies along with way – with 24-7 support in the operation of equipment during the entire Hajj period. These small steps helped tackle the monumental challenge for quick and accurate care to pilgrims, both day and night.
To our esteemed readers who have completed the Hajj to Mecca this year, we wish you a Hajj Mubarak.
For more on GE and its localization activities in Saudi Arabia and across the region, please click here.