Haj health training in Bahrain to fight viruses
MANAMA, September 5, 2014
Health workers in Bahrain are getting specialist training on how to tackle potentially fatal illnesses among haj pilgrims.
The Bahraini Haj Medical Committee is being equipped with more than 500 types of medicines to protect an estimated 15,000 Bahraini pilgrims against infectious diseases including Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The medics, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, from the Health Ministry will also be supported by the Royal Medical Services and the Bahrain Red Crescent Society.
"This year is different due to concerns over corona and Ebola viruses and hence the Haj medical committee has been directed to take stricter measures," said Bahrain Haj Mission head and High Court of Appeals chairman Shaikh Adnan Abdullah Al Qattan.
"Our aim is to have a safe pilgrimage with the given situation of high risk due to the viruses, especially with thousands of pilgrims flocking to Saudi Arabia.
"The committee will monitor everything from registration, vaccinations, caravans, trips during its three phases - before, during and after - and all other secondary and tertiary arrangements."
Shaikh Adnan spoke to the GDN yesterday on the sidelines of an awareness workshop held for the medics ahead of the Haj season, which is expected to start later this month.
The workshop was held at the Mšvenpick Hotel in Muharraq under the patronage of Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Aisha Bu Onq.
"We have committees that specialise in co-ordinating on the immunisation programmes, who will help the pilgrims with the necessary health guidance, which includes prevention and treatment tips," said ministry hospital affairs assistant under-secretary Dr Waleed Al Manea.
"The biggest challenge that we all face this pilgrimage season is the prevalence of corona and Ebola viruses.
"Though the group from Bahrain is separate and does not get to mingle with the many others in the Holy land, we have to be careful about the risk."
Committee head Dr Ali Al Baqqara said another challenge was the ongoing expansion work at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
"With construction work going on, the major walkways have been closed and space for people to walk through has been limited to narrower paths," he said.
"This could be dangerous as there could be a stampede or trauma attack for elderly, women and patients.
"We plan to have volunteers from our teams to be readily available on these walkways, so that any unforeseen situation could be attended to quickly."
Meanwhile, Health Ministry public health consultant Dr Wafa Al Sharbati warned elderly Bahrainis and pregnant women against travelling on pilgrimages this year.
"The medical committee would advise children below the age of 12, pregnant women, elders above 65 years and those with chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and asthma, to postpone their trip," she said.
"People who are low on immunity due to their health conditions and medications should also refrain from travelling."
The GDN reported last month that special hotlines will be set up for Bahraini pilgrims in Saudi, as part of emergency plans to fight the virus.
The hotlines will ease communication between caravans, medical volunteers in Saudi Arabia and officials in Bahrain if a suspected case is reported. - TradeArabia News Service