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Sick warned against Hajj pilgrimage

MANAMA, July 5, 2015

Bahrainis suffering from chronic diseases have been warned against performing Hajj this year, a report said.

Health officials said they could not prevent people from going on the pilgrimage, but strongly urged Bahrainis aged more than 65 and those suffering from chronic diseases to stay here, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Millions of Muslims are expected to flock to Saudi Arabia in September for the Haj season, with only 3,000 citizens from Bahrain.

The number of pilgrims has dropped from 15,000 to 3,000 over the last two years because of ongoing construction work at Makkah’s Grand Mosque.

“Saudi health authorities have clearly stated that the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases should not travel this year for Haj because they have low immunity,” said Bahrain’s Haj Medical Committee head Dr Ali Al Baqara.

“In Bahrain, since we have sickle cell patients even they should listen to this advice, as last year our health team had to deal with some citizens suffering from the disease who could not perform the pilgrimage because of their poor health condition.”

Dr Al Baqara will head the Health Ministry’s Haj medical team that will include doctors, nurses, food inspectors, technicians and ambulance drivers, who will assist Bahraini pilgrims round-the-clock.

He said his team was on alert for threats of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV) and Ebola.

“We will be looking after around 3,000 pilgrims from Bahrain who have to receive the inoculation at the health centres,” he added.

“They will receive a set of papers including a special booklet we issued this year highlighting proper hygiene.

“Also, all patients suffering from chronic diseases should carry their medications and store it at the right temperature. We will be carrying large quantities of different types of drugs for patients or for an emergency.”

Dr Al Baqara said this year’s biggest challenge would be the extreme humidity.

“The hot weather can lead to dehydration, heat stroke, exhaustion and other conditions that require our health team to observe the pilgrims,” he added.

He said they will also co-ordinate with their Saudi counterparts to tackle any emergency cases.

Last year, Saudi Arabia played down fears of Ebola, having banned pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

The Ebola epidemic has spread rapidly through West Africa in over a year, with latest World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics stating close to 27,500 reported cases and 11,217 deaths.

According to latest WHO figures, there have been 1,339 cases of Mers-CoV since it was first identified in 2012 and 476 people have so far died. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Makkah | MERS | ebola |

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