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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-22

The role of emergency medical services providers during mass gathering: Hajj Season 2019


1 Department of Emergency Medicine, King Abdulaziz Medical City; King Abdullah International Medical Research Center; College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, King Abdulaziz Medical City; King Abdullah International Medical Research Center; College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center; College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
4 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center; College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ali S Al-Shareef
Department of Emergency Medicine, King Abdulaziz Medical City, P.O. Box: 12723, Jeddah 21483
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_136_21

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Background: Mass gatherings are worldwide events, and the Hajj season is considered one of the significant mass gathering events that happen annually in Makkah city, Saudi Arabia. Medical preparation such as preparation for transportation, training, and medical staffing for mass gatherings at existing sites has been discussed. Aims: This study aimed to assess the role of emergency medical services (EMS) providers during Hajj Season 2019 and the preparedness of the EMS system through providers' perspectives. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional survey using a questionnaire has been conducted in Makkah during the Hajj season 2019, which took place in Mena valley and Arafat. Methods: Convenience sampling from two major institutions (the Saudi Red Crescent and the National Guards Hospital, EMS Department) was used. The inclusion criteria included emergency medical specialists and emergency medical technicians. Statistical Analysis Used: The data were analyzed using JMP. Data for continuous variables were presented as mean and standard deviation if normally distributed, otherwise median and interquartile range were used. Data for the categorical variables were presented as frequencies and percentages. Results: The majority of EMS providers were male in gender and almost half of them were emergency medical technicians with a diploma qualification. Most of them had specific training before Hajj such as basic life support. However, the majority reported the use of medications during transport and training are areas that require improvement. During Hajj, the majority of the EMS providers do ambulance decontamination. Busy shifts and lack of workforce were the main reasons for working more than 12 h per shift. Conclusions: This study offers important recommendations for improving the EMS system's preparedness during Hajj, which include more workforce coverage as well as improved providers' qualifications and level of training. Furthermore, this study provides a recommendation to change the scope of practice to treat and release in the majority of cases rather than unnecessarily transport to the hospital. This study urges the importance of collaboration between agencies to facilitate the EMS system.


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