MOH News
MOH Issues the Health Regulations for the 1435H-Hajj Season
03 April 2014
The Ministry of Health (MOH) stressed the importance of meeting the health regulations by those willing to perform the rituals of Hajj or Umrah during the 1435H year. As such, the ministry has submitted such regulations to all concerned bodies and Saudi embassies and consulates abroad to act accordingly when granting visas for pilgrims.
These remarks were issued by the Deputy Minister for Public Health Dr. Ziad Memish, who underlined that the MOH closely follows up the latest epidemiological developments on the regional and international arenas through a Saudi scientific committee, revealing that all bodies concerned will be briefed on any amendments made to these regulations, as it was done with the pilgrims of Guinea and Liberia. The health regulations of this year tackles the following axes; yellow fever, meningitis, polio, and vaccination against the seasonal influenza virus.
Dr. Memish further highlighted that the yellow fever-affected countries, according to the health regulations, are Angola, Benin, Sudan, South Sudan, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Burundi, Chad, Uganda, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Mauritania, Rwanda, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Brazil, Bolivia, Suriname, Peru, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay.
Moreover, Dr. Memish noted that all pilgrims coming from countries or areas at risk of yellow fever must present, in accordance with the International Health Regulations, a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate showing that the person was vaccinated at least 10 days before arrival at the border. Aircrafts, ships, and various means of transportation coming from the states afflicted by the yellow fever, are required to submit a valid certificate showing that all the insects (mosquitoes) on their board were disinfected.
Speaking about meningitis, Dr. Memish said pilgrims hailing from all over the world must submit a vaccination certificate showing that they have been vaccinated against meningitis (before arriving in the Kingdom) within at least ten days' period and not exceeding three years. The responsible authorities in the pilgrim's homeland should ensure that all pilgrims were given 1 dose of the quadrivalent polysaccharide (ACYW135) vaccine.
For visitors arriving from countries in the African meningitis belt (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan), Dr. Memish said the preventive medicine will be administered at ports of entry to lower the rate of carriers.
As for polio, Dr. Memish said pilgrims coming from Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Syria, Somalia, Kenya, Yemen, Palestine (Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Arab 48) should submit an oral polio vaccine certificate before their arrival to the Kingdom by six weeks. And they are to be given another dose of the oral polio vaccine when arriving in the Kingdom regardless of their ages.
Dr. Memish further noted that the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) calls upon pilgrims to be vaccinated with the seasonal influenza vaccine, especially the pregnant women, children (under 5 years), obese people, and those suffering from chronic disorders: heart diseases, kidney diseases, respiratory diseases, nervous system disorders, diabetes, immune deficiency (congenital and acquired), metabolic illnesses. Also, the health authorities of the states from which the pilgrims hail must raise their awareness against the infectious diseases and their types, symptoms, transmission ways, complications, and prevention means.
Furthermore, Dr. Memish added that the ministry bans the entry of the foods brought by those coming to the Kingdom, including the pilgrims, among their luggage, unless they are canned and tightly sealed or in easy-open pots in order to be examined, and with amounts sufficing those who travel by land, only the travelling distance.
As a precautionary measure, Dr. Memish said the Saudi Ministry of Health recommends the elderly people, pregnant women, children, and those with chronic diseases (e.g. heart diseases, kidney diseases, respiratory diseases, nervous system disorders, diabetes, and immune deficiency) to postpone the performance of the Hajj and Umrah of this year for their own safety.
On conclusion, Dr. Memish noted that in case there is an emergency case arousing an international alarm or the outbreak of diseases subjected to the international health regulations in any state from which pilgrims come, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's health authorities could take any additional precautionary measures towards those coming from theses states, which have not been mentioned among the above-mentioned conditions, in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) at once. And this is in order to avoid the infection spread among the pilgrims or its transfer to their countries.

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