Nabamat: Hajj preparations effective, medical services provided to 1.3 million pilgrims: Saudi Arabia’s health minister

The Saudi minister said the achievement had been made possible by the concerted efforts of the health system and Hajj security forces, which had “no recorded cases of contagion or widespread diseases.”

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health, Fahad Al-Jalajar, said preparations made for the health of pilgrims during the 2024 Hajj had been successful, with 1.3 million medical services provided to pilgrims.

In a June 23 interview, he said the success had been made possible by the coordinated efforts of the health system and Hajj security forces, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

“There were no recorded epidemics or widespread disease outbreaks. The health system provided more than 465,000 specialised medical treatment services, including 141,000 services to people without formal permission for the Hajj.”

The Health Minister expressed satisfaction with the overall health of pilgrims despite the scorching heat in the holy city.

During the interview, he also highlighted the positive impact of the immediate actions of the Ministry of Health authorities and the effective efforts of the Hajj security forces to systematically reduce the intensity of the heat.

According to him, “Despite this year’s extreme heat, the health system has cleared some cases, but some people are still receiving treatment.”

“Sadly, the death toll has reached 1,301, of whom 83 percent were unable to perform Hajj, having walked long distances in direct sunlight without proper shelter or rest. Many of the dead are elderly and those with chronic illnesses.”

The Health Minister also highlighted the efforts being made by authorities to raise awareness about the dangers of heatstroke and the importance of preventive measures.

During the ceremony, the Pope offered his condolences to the families of those who died and expressed his sorrow over these deaths.

“Although initial details and identification documents were lacking, a full report has now been compiled, the families of the dead notified and identity checks completed,” he said.

“Proper procedures will be adopted for the identification and burial of the deceased and death certificates will be issued.”

The health minister further said the state’s provision of free medical services to Hajj pilgrims had already begun before their arrival, while awareness programmes had been launched at air, sea and land border crossings.

“During the Hajj, 1.3 million medical services were provided to pilgrims, including early diagnosis, vaccinations and medical care upon arrival,” he said.

Services offered to pilgrims include open-heart surgery, cardiac catheterization, dialysis and emergency care, with a total of more than 30,000 ambulances, 95 air ambulances in operation and modern medical services in medical cities across the Kingdom. Make sure you get there.”

He further informed that “the Health Department has provided 6,500 beds and rooms. The heat wave response also included the provision of equipment to enable fast and effective rescue of victims.”

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