Saudi Arabian doctors save lives around the world with Albalsam International

Albalsam International Organization treats all patients equally, regardless of race, creed or gender. (AFP/File)
Updated 21 June 2019

Saudi Arabian doctors save lives around the world with Albalsam International

  • Specific teams are chosen for each trip based on the needs of the country in question, says team leader Emad Bukhari

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian nonprofit Albalsam International Organization and its team of surgeons have reportedly provided medical assistance to 2,524 patients in six different countries, including Yemen and Tanzania, it announced recently.

Albalsam, which opened in Switzerland in 2017 under the leadership of Saudi cardiologist and executive director Dr. Emad Bukhari, provides free medical services to underprivileged citizens around the world. 

The organization has seven teams specializing in different areas of medicine: Cardiovascular medicine and surgery; ophthalmic medicine and surgery; pediatric medicine and surgery; cardiac catheterization; pediatric urology; intensive care; and respiratory care.

Bukhari cites Qur’an 22:77 — “O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good — that you may succeed” — as the inspiration behind the organization.

“By the grace of God first, and then by the hard work and devotion of my team and the generous assistance of those who donate to us, we are able to do good in service of humanity,” Bukhari told Arab News.

In numbers

560 cases of eye patients.

2,524 recipients.

46 surgery for children.

Specific teams are chosen for each trip based on the needs of the country in question, he explained: “If we are urgently needed to perform surgeries, we’ll send a larger surgical team of about 10 people. If we are sending doctors to offer training or teaching, we might send four.” The necessary resources for each trip are donated by various hospitals.

The doctors do their utmost to ensure that they are able to provide follow-up care for their patients too, and monitor their recovery. 

“We do not go anywhere unless we know we have the full means to offer the proper care,” Bukhari said. 

“We ensure that the local medical teams can carry on the treatment after we leave, training them ourselves if we have to, and we even follow up on the phone or over Skype, if necessary.”

To date, the organization has provided services including open-heart surgery, cardiac catheterization therapeutic intervention surgery, cardiac ultrasound diagnosis, cataract surgery, and various pediatric surgical procedures.

Bukhari said that the organization treats all patients equally, regardless of race, creed or gender.

“Islam teaches us that saving a single life is like saving all of humanity, and that is how Albalsam contributes to the growth and expansion of its work and puts its own mark on humanitarian action.”

Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

Updated 18 October 2019

Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

  • The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date

RIYADH: More than 1,500 performers and 25 floats took part in a parade and carnival on Thursday night that officially launched Riyadh Season’s Boulevard zone. The crowds that gathered for the fun-packed event were also treated to motorcycle displays, fireworks and other surprises.

The Boulevard lit up at 9 p.m. for the start of the 90-minute event, which featured some of the international artists who will perform as part of Riyadh Season. Afterwards, the zone’s food and drink outlets, outdoor cinema and fountain shows officially opened.

The audience watched the parade, performances and displays from specially constructed stands. Food trucks offered a selection of tasty snacks, and organizers also provided prayer rooms, toilets, first-aid stations and other facilities.


GEA president Turki Al-Sheikh gave an opening speech: “Our dearest people, in the beginning of this season, we welcome you and our guests in Riyadh.

“I want to share a story with you all; once upon a time, I was from a middle-class family. My mother and father would gather both their salaries to have us travel to see the world, and then we would stay in Riyadh for a year. These were our capabilities (at the time) and there was nothing to do in Riyadh. Who would've thought that we’d see all of this in Riyadh, and in our beloved country?

“This wouldn't have been possible without -of course Allah first- a person who has the qualities and vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

He tweeted: “Riyadh traffic police estimated we have exceeded 600K which means ten times the capacity.”

In addition to the opening-night festivities, the Boulevard zone, which covers 400,000 square meters, will host a wide range of entertainment options and activities for all ages, including the outdoor cinema, restaurants, and sports, music and theatrical events. It has three main venues: The 22,000-seat Mohammed Abdu Theater, the 6,000-seat Abu Bakr Salem Theater, and the 2,000-seat Baker Al-Sheddi Theater.

The parade is just one of more than 100 events featuring local, regional and international performers taking place during the Riyadh Season festival, which continues until mid-December at 12 zones across the city: the Boulevard; the Front; Riyadh Car Show; Winter Wonderland; Riyadh Stadiums; the Diplomatic Quarter; Al-Muraba’a; Al-Malaz; Wadi Namar; Nabd Al-Riyadh; Riyadh Safari; and Riyadh Sahara. It has been organized with the support of Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority and president of Riyadh Season.

The ambitious 2019 Saudi Seasons initiative, the first of its kind in the region, was launched in February and includes 11 local seasons covering most parts of the Kingdom. Designed to promote the fledgling Saudi entertainment sector and boost tourism, it is attracting some of the biggest names in world entertainment.

The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date. It follows a folklore parade at the Mawtni (My Nation) cultural event in Yanbu to mark Saudi National Day this year, and a parade during the Jeddah Season festivities in the city’s Obhur district.

The parade had a special surprise; the appearance of DJ Carnage who took to the stage dressed in complete Saudi attire and performed his successful electronic show.

The musician also took to Twitter to celebrate the night and how he had had a hand in “making history,” tweeting: “A huge thank you to @Turki_alalshikh  ..... what you did for your country last night... was so special... thank you for having me... we made history.”