MOH News
Dr. Qahtani: Animation Movie Addressing the Diseases Associated with the Hajj Season
22 October 2012
   The Ministry of Health (MOH) has intensified its awareness programs targeting pilgrims, using various means, including the production of an awareness animation movie, spreading thousands of indicative silent images, and broadcasting awareness SMS besides more than 950,000 paintings and brochures.

Dr. Abdulrahman Yahia Al-Qahtani, Supervisor of the Program of Health Education in the pilgrimage, noted that the Hajj Health Education Program aims to familiarize pilgrims with ways to maintain health and prevent disease that spread during the pilgrimage season. This is done through clarifying unhealthy behaviors causing the spread of disease in the pilgrimage season, and encouraging the adoption of healthy behaviors.
Al-Qahtani highlighted that the most important strategies used in the program for this year included the use of health marketing technique in planning, continuing to establish infrastructure and relying on silent and indicative images, in addition to the use of multiple languages, for the fourth consecutive year.

Strategies for this year also included the use of electronic media through the development of the website, the use of mobile phone messages effectively, and activating coordination and cooperation with other relevant bodies in accordance with specific mechanisms and activities. The program also focused this year on targeting places crowded with pilgrims as it is usually done every year, as well as paying more attention to local pilgrims.

Many awareness means were used in this program, including the distribution of more than 950,000 brochures in addition to other means of awareness, amounting to more than over 15,000. These include fixed signs of multiple sizes, which are installed near sites of gatherings especially in the holy sites. The program also used silent images, in addition to messages in multiple languages, which are easily understood by most of the pilgrims who speak different languages.

Dr. Al-Qahtani added that an innovative step had been taken seeking to educate pilgrims in an unconventional manner; an animation movie was produced, targeting adults and addressing the most important health problems that arise during Hajj and methods of prevention, while promoting health practices to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases. This movie can be used through satellite channels, social media and websites.

Dr. Al-Qahtani further said that the electronic media is among the tools that have been used this year represented in the site for pilgrims’ health, text messages, and Twitter, in addition to electronic ads that were published in a number of the most visited websites. Awareness ads in local newspapers were also used, including a number of English newspapers, in addition to cooperation with many satellite channels to raise awareness about the health of Hajj.

He said, “This year and for the second time consecutively the program applied the so-called mobile awareness messages, where a number of umbrellas, masks and tissues containing awareness messages have been provided to help in the delivery of messages directly to the pilgrims.”

Dr. Al-Qahtani added, “Health awareness topics included a number of areas of priority to Hajj this year such as ways of prevention of respiratory infections, maintaining personal hygiene for the prevention of infectious diseases, food health and safety, safe use of shaving tools, urging the use of protective devices such as masks and umbrellas and avoiding direct sun rays. Instructions also included how to live with chronic diseases during the pilgrimage.”

Al-Qahtani said the program included the activation of toll-free service to answer all inquiries by the pilgrims through the center of media information and health education, where a number of consultants in multiple disciplines have been hosted to answer queries from callers according to a specific timetable.

Al-Qahtani indicated that the program worked through field teams that reached 8 teams spread over Mecca and Medina and the city of pilgrims, in addition to 10 teams in the entry points of pilgrims. The program targets many of the sites such as the city of pilgrims, airports, land ports, health centers, hospitals, the holy sites, accommodation of pilgrims and circuiting institutions.

In the end, Al-Qahtani noted that the program arranges visits to the medical missions of the next Hajj in order to introduce the program and provide them with education and publications. Some 48 missions have already been visited.
 
 



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