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WHO: Saudi Arabia Succeeds to Ensure Pilgrims’ Safety | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque in Makkah. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Holy Sites- Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah announced on Wednesday during a press conference in Mina that the current Hajj season was free from epidemic diseases and that pilgrims were generally in good health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Saudi Arabia through its health system and provided services succeeded in ensuring a safe Hajj season of no major health threats.

The minister said that the ministry prepared 25 hospitals at the holy sites in addition to 158 medical centers; it also recruited 26,000 medical practitioners and administrators.

Rabiah said the Ministry of Health mobilized all human, material and mechanized means to provide preventive, curative, emergency and awareness services to pilgrims. He added: “The ministry is always aware of its responsibilities towards the pilgrims and wants to ensure that they perform their rituals easily and comfortably.”

The Health Minister continued that the ministry’s teams provided preventive measures as well as meningitis and polio vaccines to more than 690,000 pilgrims. He said that early awareness programs and field visits by the teams played a key role in minimizing the number of sunstroke and heat stress cases.

“About 400,000 pilgrims visited the ministry’s facilities during the current Hajj season. The number of cardiac catheterization, open-heart and kidney dialysis operations reached 306, 27 and 1,730, respectively. Around 329 people were treated by field medical centers and hospitals for heat stress and 86 people for sunstroke,” Rabiah stated.

For his part, Dr. Jawad Mahjour, WHO deputy regional director, hailed the Kingdom’s success in safeguarding the pilgrims against communicable diseases.

Mahjour continued that WHO sent a team during the Hajj season, upon the ministry’s request, to follow up the procedures.