Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Campaign launched to ensure safe travels for UAE Hajj pilgrims

Thousands are expected to make the pilgrimage from the Emirates to Makkah in August

Millions of people take part in the pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, every year.  AFP
Millions of people take part in the pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, every year.  AFP

Health authorities in the UAE are joining forces to ensure thousands of Emirati worshippers embarking on the annual pilgrimage to Makkah to perform Hajj complete their journey safely.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention and Dubai Health Authority are urging pilgrims to take a mandatory vaccine at least 15 days before leaving the Emirates.

Those wishing to perform Hajj this year are being advised to obtain a valid international certificate of vaccination before attempting to make the journey.

Pilgrims will leave the UAE to complete their pilgrimage in August.

Each year, millions of Muslims travel to Makkah to perform Hajj, with many also travelling on north to the city of Madinah.

Last year, more than 6,200 Muslims performed Hajj from the UAE, up from 4,600 the previous year.

The Saudi government allocates each country a set number of pilgrims to take part each year.

“All pilgrims have to take preventative measures. They must take the meningococcal vaccine and have a valid certificate of vaccination,” said Dr Laila Al Jasmi, head of MoHAP’s immunisation section.

“It is also recommended to take the vaccine 15 days prior to your travelling date to ensure its effectiveness.”

The awareness campaign has been launched with a focus on health requirements and recommendations for those travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah 1440.

A committee has been formed comprising of health department directors and doctors as well as nursing and technical staff who specialise in preventative, immunisation and mass-gathering medicine.

As well as the mandatory meningococcal jab, travellers can also avail of the pneumococcal and flu vaccines.

This is to ensure that pilgrims are protected from infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on the elderly and people who already suffer from chronic diseases.

“These efforts will help ensure the health and safety of all pilgrims and protect them from possible health hazards, most importantly infectious and chronic diseases,” said Dr Hussein Al Rand, undersecretary of the Ministry’s health assistance sector, health centres and clinics.

Dr Laila Al Jasmi, head of the Ministry of Health and Prevention's immunisation section and Dr Badreyya Al Harmi, director of public health protection at Dubai Health Authority, have issued safety advice to those hoping to take part in the annual pilgrimage to Makkah. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Dr Laila Al Jasmi, head of the Ministry of Health and Prevention's immunisation section and Dr Badreyya Al Harmi, director of public health protection at Dubai Health Authority, have issued safety advice to those hoping to take part in the annual pilgrimage to Makkah. Chris Whiteoak / The National

A programme was also been launched to train doctors when it comes to pilgrims’ medical examinations, vaccines and health requirements.

The scheme consists of 140 doctors from primary health centres across all the Emirates. The aim of the programme is to provide the best possible medical care for Hajj pilgrims and to ensure they are fully aware of the services available to them.

Emiratis who are making the pilgrimage are also able to take advantage of free vaccinations in UAE health centres.

“MoHAP is keen on providing the best medical and regulatory services for Hajj pilgrims as per the highest standards,” said Dr Abdul Karim Al Zarouni, director of MoHAP’s Hajj Medical Mission.

“There are healthcare clinics with the latest equipment and medical supplies in Makkah, Madinah, Mina and Arafat as well as mobile medical teams and equipped ambulances.”

The annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia takes place in Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.

Updated: June 11, 2019 06:31 PM

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