MOH News

Minster of Health: Hajj Season Free of Epidemics and Public Health Threats
24 August 2018

​His Excellency the Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, has announced that the Hajj season of this year (1439H.) is free of epidemics and public health threats, and that Hajj health plans are successful, May Allah be praised.

During a press conference held today in Mina, Dr. Al-Rabiah stated: “In implementation of the directions of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, the Ministry of Health (MOH) was keen to prepare early for this year’s Hajj Season, by conducting an assessment of Hajj health needs requirements to ensure safety of pilgrims.”

“Based on results of this assessment, MOH issued the health requirements and recommendations for this year’s hajj season, and published them on its Portal, as well as distributing them to all countries from where pilgrims come. This took place, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through Saudi embassies and WHO Regional Offices. In its health plan for this year’s Hajj season, MOH has focused on three main topics, namely: prevention against heat strokes (sunstrokes), prevention against communicable diseases, as well as raising health awareness among pilgrims about the importance of following the instructions of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah regarding pilgrims influx and crowd organization plans to avoid injuries and heat exhaustion”, declared Al-Rabiah.

Also, he pointed out that MOH held intensive training courses before Hajj for healthcare workers on diagnosis and providing healthcare to pilgrims, with focusing on heat exhaustion-related illnesses, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, hemorrhagic fevers, and other conditions that may occur during Hajj. Besides, Dr. Al-Rabiah noted that MOH launched over the past months a number of health awareness campaigns (in various languages) via social media, airports, and airlines, in collaboration with Civil Aviation Authority, through which it focuses on the above-mentioned main topics.

“As part of its preparation for Hajj, MOH equipped 12 healthcare centers at border crossing points and enhanced them with human resources and equipment for providing preventive and therapeutic services to pilgrims upon their arrival in the Kingdom. Also, MOH health teams completed the preventive measures at border crossing points in record time (less than one minute) for each pilgrim”, said Dr. Al-Rabiah.

He added: “Due to the health condition in some countries, our public health teams monitored and recorded the information of pilgrims coming from countries affected by epidemic diseases (e.g. Ebola and cholera), then followed up the health conditions of these pilgrims constantly with their medical missions. Hence, MOH provided its healthcare services to pilgrims at the holy sites, through 25 hospitals (with a 5,000-bed capacity), 155 primary healthcare centers, 180 ambulances, in addition to mobile clinics and a field hospital.”

Dr. Al-Rabiah highlighted: “The Health Electronic Surveillance Network (HESN) has expanded to cover all hospitals and most primary healthcare centers this year. Also, MOH, in collaboration with WHO, has launched this year the first phase of Early Warning Surveillance System, which can, Allah Willing, detect epidemic diseases and public health threats before their outbreaks.”

Within the same vein, Dr. Al-Rabiah has presented some figures of  works carried out and still being carried out by MOH during this Hajj season, with more than 1,600,000 pilgrims screened at border crossing points, 360,000 children vaccinated against polio at border crossing points, 480,000 pilgrims, coming from Makkah, Madinah, and other cities inside the Kingdom, vaccinated against seasonal influenza and meningitis at border crossing points, more than 12,000 sites checked to ensure that they are free of mosquitos, in addition to the implementation of comprehensive campaigns to control vector-borne diseases and public health threats at the holy sites, in coordination with the municipalities Holy City of Makkah and Madinah. During this year’s Hajj season, MOH’s health facilities performed 579 cardiac catheterizations, 36 open-heart surgeries, 2,056 dialysis sessions, 181 gastrointestinal endoscopies, and 12 birth cases.

Concluding the conference, Al-Rabiah thanked Allah for the safety and tranquility of pilgrims. Also, he lauded the unstinting support provided by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown prince to the Ministry of Health (MOH), its employees and all sectors of the Kingdom working in Hajj. Finally, Al-Rabiah prayed for Allah to accept Hajj rituals of pilgrims and help them return to their homelands safely.

Last Update : 30 August 2018 10:54 AM
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