There are also special tips for pilgrims with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases.
Don’t panic if you fall sick during the Haj pilgrimage. Pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Haj this year will be able to connect with their doctor in Dubai via a 24/7 hotline in case a personal health advice is needed.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on Tuesday announced the launch of a campaign to ensure the health and safety of Haj pilgrims.
“The international hotline 800-DHA (800342) will connect a pilgrim with their family doctor if they need a personal health consultation,” said Dr Badriya Al Haremi, director of the public health protection department at the DHA.
The awareness campaign focuses on health requirements and recommendations for those heading to Saudi Arabia for Haj and Umrah and health precautions that must be taken ahead of travel, so as to ensure a safe pilgrimage.
Officials said that a joint coordination committee has been formed comprising department directors, doctors, nursing and technical staff specialised in preventive, immunisation and mass-gathering medicine.
The ministry underlined the availability of the basic and optional vaccines, such as meningococcal, pneumococcal and seasonal influenza to ensure the protection of pilgrims from infectious diseases with a specific reference to the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
Dr Abdul Karim Al Zarouni, head of Mohap’s Haj medical mission, said: “There are healthcare clinics equipped with the latest equipment and medical supplies in Makkah, Madinah, Mina and Arafat as well as mobile medical teams and equipped ambulances, with hotlines to respond to health pilgrims’ enquiries, in addition to communicating with the medical teams accompanying the campaigns to provide medicines and medical advice, and monitor the performance of these team in serving pilgrims.”
The ministry has organised a programme to train registered doctors in Haj system on pilgrims’ medical examination, vaccines and health requirements. Comprising 140 doctors from the primary health care centers in all Emirates, the programme aims at providing the best medical and awareness services for Haj pilgrims.
“There are also special tips for pilgrims with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases, as well as providing information about healthy diet and handing out educational booklets featuring proper health guidelines,” said Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, director of Mohap’s preventive medicine department.
Dr Laila Al Jasmi, head of Mohap’s immunisation section, said: “The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that the influenza vaccine should be taken for all people and pneumococcal vaccine for those over 50 years, especially those with heart disease and diabetes, vaccines against infection and complications of respiratory diseases that spread among pilgrims. All pilgrims are recommended to take vaccine 15 days prior to their travelling date to ensure it is effectiveness.”
“Those who wish to perform Haj this year need to go to the primary healthcare centres to take advice and the necessary vaccinations,” said Dr Badriya. The campaign, that will be launched in July, focuses on the importance of consulting doctors, taking vaccines earlier before their travel, preparing the first aid box and many other activities that aim to raise pilgrims awareness about the possible hazards that they may face during their pilgrimage.
If any symptoms of respiratory infection are observed 14 days after returning from Haj or Umrah, visit the nearest health centre, they added. For list of health centres offering Haj vaccinations, please visit www.haad.ae/vaccine or call 800555.
Tips for respiratory disease prevention
1-Wash hands with water, soap, or other disinfectants, especially after coughing, sneezing, or using the toilet
2-Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth to prevent spread of bacteria
3-Avoid direct contact with people suffering from illnesses such as coughing
4-See a doctor if symptoms of respiratory infection accompanied by fever or shortness of breath surface
Pilgrims, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and other chronic diseases should visit doctors
Elderly and individuals with health conditions should visit the Preventive Medicine Department or any health centre at least four to six weeks before travelling and take meningitis, seasonal flu, and pneumococcal vaccines. A meningitis vaccination is a prerequisite to secure a visa to Saudi Arabia.
A bag is needed to place their medicines, Vaseline and powder, compressive ligaments, skin burn ointments, wound wipes, gauze, cottons, salts to treat dehydration, and rehydration powders.
Tips during Haj
Pilgrims should always carry their identification and insurance cards. They should also ensure that their rooms are properly ventilated
Drinking eight to 10 glass of clean water a day is highly recommended as well, in addition to fresh juices. Sugary foods and soft drinks should be avoided. Cooked food should not be kept for more than two hours at room temperature.
Pilgrims should consume safe and clean food. Observe personal hygiene.
Sunstroke occurs due to prolonged exposure to hot weather, resulting in loss of fluids and salts.
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