Medical city planned for special needs patients in Saudi capital

A private healthcare group has announced plans to establish a medical city in Riyadh

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A private healthcare group has announced plans to establish a medical city in Riyadh to cater to the needs of special needs patients.

Chairman of al-Hanouf Group Dr. Mohammad al-Mehaizei was quoted as saying in a section of the Arabic press on Saturday that the medical city will be called al-Hanouf-Mount Sinai Medical City for Medical Rehabilitation.

The city will cost more than SR700 million, and is expected to begin operations at the beginning of 2017.

Al-Hanouf Group has signed a cooperation agreement with Mount Sinai Hospital, which is one of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in the United States, to operate the medical city.

The city will include a rehabilitation center that can accommodate 400-600 patients, and a medical care center with 200 beds.

It is estimated that 3.73 percent of the Saudi population has functional disabilities, which limit their independence, according to Maher S. al-Jadid, whose research on the subject was published in the Saudi Medical Journal. Al-Jadid says the countrywide data from demographic survey indicates that approximately 135,000 or nearly 0.8 percent of the total Saudi population has disability. The main causes of disabilities are cerebral palsy and developmental delay followed by road traffic accident.

He says in his research that the Ministry of Health has established several rehabilitative services for persons with disabilities and other residents in the country.

Most of these programs offer physical, occupational, speech and hearing therapy as well as prosthetic and orthotic services within the existing modern and sophisticated health care service system and infrastructure.
Rehabilitation programs and facilities, as an integral part of modern health care delivery services, have received due attention by government authorities, with services being made available to all citizens and residents.

Modern medical rehabilitation in the kingdom started in the early 1960’s following an outbreak of poliomyelitis.

In 1987, the legislation of disability (LD) passed as the first legislation for people with disabilities in the kingdom. The LD contains important provisions that assurance persons with disabilities rights equal to those of other people in society.

In 2000, the disability code was passed by the Saudi government to pledge that people with disabilities have access to free and appropriate medical, psychological, social, educational, and rehabilitation services through public agencies.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 2, 2014.

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