The Ministry of Health (MOH) is ready to provide health services to pilgrims entering the Kingdom through 14 air, land and sea ports to perform the Hajj rituals this year.
The MOH has set a number of health requirements at the ports to prevent diseases and outbreaks and maintain health security as part of its keenness to provide pioneering and excellent preventive and curative services during the Hajj season.
Such services start with the pilgrims' journey from their homeland until the end of rituals through an integrated system and tight strategies employed by the health monitoring centres at ports implemented in stages according to the annual plan to be completed before the start of the Hajj season.
The MOH health services at ports are the first line of defence in maintaining health security for Hajj, following the precautionary measures per epidemiological developments and international health regulations that apply to pilgrims, their luggage and means of transportation, as well as updating health requirements, instructions and guidance for Hajj based on the global epidemiological situation. This is in addition to the requirements that must be met before issuing the Hajj visa, and an accurate health assessment upon arrival at the ports to detect symptoms of infectious diseases and visitors having their health history recorded by the service. The MOH also coordinates and cooperates with the ministries of health in countries from which pilgrims originate to apply health requirements.
The MOH confirmed that the health monitoring centres at all land, air and sea ports have been sufficiently equipped with human resources working around the clock during the season along with curative and preventive medical supplies and the provision of ambulances for emergencies.
The centres ensure that all health requirements are applied to pilgrims, especially those from countries with a high epidemiology risk of communicable diseases, to prevent the spread of diseases by inspecting international travel documents, which show proof of vaccination of pilgrims in their homeland and all means of transport used for their journey.
The centres also coordinate with the relevant authorities at the ports to inspect any food carried by pilgrims, record the numbers of arriving pilgrims and report the preventive measures applied to the visitors in their homeland and at the ports through the MOH's Health Electronic Surveillance Network (HESN) program.
The MOH also provides other preventive services, including immunizations, preventive treatment for those coming from the African meningitis belt countries, effective continuous monitoring and evaluation with a safe path provided at the ports to manage suspected cases, preparing isolation rooms in coordination with the relevant authorities, providing first aid for transferring those with infectious diseases, in addition to training workers at the ports on infection control procedures in order to ensure workplace safety, in coordination with the competent authorities at all ports.
The MOH is keen to raise health awareness for pilgrims and their families upon their arrival in the Kingdom and implement many initiatives at the ports by distributing educational leaflets and broadcasting educational programs through display screens in the halls in different languages, including Urdu, French, English and Indonesian.
The MOH is also keen to strengthen international cooperation and coordinate with international organizations, such as The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to exchange information and successful experiences in the field of public health and travel safety, raise the level of health awareness in infection control for port workers and ensure that all pilgrims receive the necessary immunizations before travel, according to the protocols issued in the annual plan.
The ports where medical services will be provided include Jeddah Islamic Port, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, Prince Abdul Mohsen bin Abdulaziz Airport in Yanbu, Taif International Airport and other smaller, regional airports throughout the Kingdom.
Source: Saudi Press Agency