Friday, April 18, 2014

In Taif, then for Umrah, and then rest: Day 1, Wednesday, 16th April, 2014 - I

The day is not far when my colleague will have left the hospital and I will be the sole paediatrician. In fact, Dr. Yasser has just over a week to go as I write this. This being my off-call week, I requested for a few days' leave. On Wednesday, the 16th of April, I drove to Ta'if. Someone had informed me (wrongly, as it later turned out) that there was a conference with CME credit in Ta'if at the King Abdul Aziz Speciality Hospital (KAASH). (CME is "Continuing Medical Education" and is a method for doctors to update their knowledge and earn points which can be redeemed for a continuation of their practicing license.)

Accordingly, I left Al Muwayh at about seven o'clock in the morning, arriving in Ta'if by about 10:00 a.m. In KAASH, I was directed to the "education office" in Building # 3 of the Administrative complex. I met with a young chap by the name of Faisal (he was a Saudi with decent spoken English). His information, though, wasn't all that great. He told me that there were two upcoming CME's in the following week, each for a day, but that they would grant just 4 or 5 points each.This is not good news since I was looking for CME's with more points. The reason is that we need 90-120 points to extend our practicing license by 3 more years. To go to Ta'if from Al Muwayh, which is   km away, to just get 4 or 5 points is certainly not value for money!

I then went to the Muderiya, our MOH office in Taif and met Dr. Ahmed Ashraf, the medical man who is also the liaison officer working there. I needed him to help me assure me a vacation in June, when I need to go to India to participate in a training course for the MRCPCH Clinicals. He guided me as best as possible, but I could not meet the concerned people. I also went upstairs to the salary department to enquire about the pending monies of Dr. Narendra. The person in charge informed me, however, that the chances of success in this endeavour were growing dim as the MOH file on Dr. Narendra had got closed in the system. Now, he said, he would try to get that money by other means ... but he did not explain how. It would seem that he would appoint someone who would go personally to the Riyadh office and try and get that money for Dr. Narendra in some months' time ... but he added it might take more than a month or two to get a response. It will then be my unpleasant task to inform this to Dr. Narendra ... something I dread doing.

I then returned to my hotel, the Ahle Saif, the one that I always stay in whenever I am in Ta'if. It seems that although the owner of the hotel is the same one as before, the management has changed hands; it is now being managed by Indians - these are Hyderabadi chaps and they are the very same guys who are running the Asian restaurant just below the hotel ... yes, the same one that I eat at. As one of the helps told me, the new management is even stingier than the old one. They have stopped giving tissue boxes, shampoo and such other simple things that this hotel always used to supply earlier, Mr. Munawwar Ali, the employee who spoke to me, is quite disillusioned with the new management. Not only are they stingy about supplies to the guests, they have also, it seems, or so Mr/ Ali had to tell me, cut down on facilities to their staff. I see portents of bad things here, and I foresee that I may have to switch to some other hotel if things continue in this way.

At about 5 p.m., I finally left for my Umrah.

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