Hospital drive-through in Saudi Arabia is sweet medicine for patients

The drive-thru service will continue so that patients suffering from chronic illnesses will no longer have to come to the hospital, take a number and wait for their turn. (Photo/Mohammed Qenan Al-Ghamdi)
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Updated 03 June 2020

Hospital drive-through in Saudi Arabia is sweet medicine for patients

  • Drive-through pharmacies are growing worldwide, and a number of hospitals across KSA have opened centers to serve patients

JEDDAH: With curfews eased across much of Saudi Arabia, vital services provided by initiatives such as drive-thru pharmacies are helping to ensure social distancing for chronically ill patients.

Drive-thru pharmacy services are growing worldwide, and a number of hospitals across the Kingdom have opened centers and organized staff to serve patients amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Jeddah launched a drive-thru service on April 5 after a partial lockdown was ordered in the city on March 29 to prevent further spread of the virus.

“The hospital serves many patients across the Western region and, due to the lockdown, they are restricted from picking up their medications unless they’re given a permit allowing them to leave their homes,” said Dr. Abdulmohsin Marghalani, director of the hospital’s pharmaceutical care division.

“By establishing this drive-thru, we can lower the risk of transmission, and provide patients with their medications hassle free and in the safety of their cars.”

More than 9,800 medications have been dispensed to more than 3,200 patients since April 5.

Patients’ waiting times have also fallen dramatically, Marghalani said. The drive-thru pharmacy allows prescriptions to be filled quickly, with patient health and safety a top priority, he added.

“Patients must go through several screening points when entering the hospital, which can uncomfortable and time consuming,” Marghalani said.

Extra care is taken when preparing medications, with staff wearing protective suits. Medications are properly packaged and stored, he said.

Patients who contact the pharmacy call center are provided with options allowing for delivery or pickup. Increasing numbers of patients are choosing the drive-thru service.

“The situation has forced many health institutions to go ahead with emergency plans. This service is also important because you have biologics (medications developed from biological sources) and fridge items that are difficult to package and deliver through service companies,” Marghalani said.

Saudi Arabia has initiated a three-phase plan to return to normal life by June 21, but procedures are subject to continuous evaluation.

According to Marghalani, the service will continue so that patients suffering from chronic illnesses will no longer have to come to the hospital, take a number and wait their turn — a voice message to the call center with their name and file number will suffice.

Amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, the drive-thru service is considering expanding its hours of operation, he added.

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Houthis targeting civilians is ‘red line’: Coalition confirms operation against militia

Updated 02 July 2020

Houthis targeting civilians is ‘red line’: Coalition confirms operation against militia

  • Operation comes after continuous targeting of the Kingdom with drones and ballistic missiles
  • Iran-backed group launched ballistic missile toward Riyadh last week, which was intercepted

RIYADH: The Arab coalition confirmed that it has launched a military operation against the Houthi targets on Thursday and said that their targeting of civilians is a “red line.”
The operation comes as the Houthi militia continue to target the Kingdom with drones and ballistic missiles.
The militia launched a ballistic missile toward Riyadh last week which was intercepted. The missile was Iranian made, coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said at a press conference.
The coalition would take “harsh measures” against the Houthis if they targeted civilian areas and the Kingdom would not tolerate such attacks, Al-Maliki added.
“The terrorist leaders of the Houthi militia... will be pursued and held accountable. Targeting civilians and civilian facilities is a red line,” he said.
Al-Maliki said that the Yemeni army had complied with the cease-fire that the coalition announced in April for a period of 45 days. He said that the Houthis violated the cease-fire 4,276 times during that period.
Earlier this week, the coalition released details of two seizures of Iranian weapons that were headed into Houthi hands.
Referring to the seizures that took place in April and June, Al-Maliki said the Iranian regime is deliberately providing the Houthis with missiles to undermine regional security.
He added that the militia is using the Al-Nahden mountain as a ballistic missile storage center.
Iran is violating a UN resolution banning the supply of arms to Yemen, and the Iranian regime is deliberately undermining regional security, Al-Maliki said.