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Saudi Arabia launches Haj health awareness campaign

He added that the leaflets will tell the pilgrims of the health guidelines to be followed during their stay in the holy cities

Source : Arab news / 12 Sep 2014

The Ministry of Health has launched a multimedia awareness campaign to inform Haj pilgrims of the preventive measures that should be taken during their stay in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Health Ministry spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani told Arab News that this year the ministry is harnessing all media channels to reach the millions of pilgrims coming from countries around the world to convey the health messages.

“In addition to the media channels, the ministry will distribute more than a million brochures in several languages spelling out guidelines to prevent the spread of infection among pilgrims and advising them of the precautionary measures to be taken against health problems,” Al-Mirghalani said, pointing out that the booklets are available in Arabic, English, French, Urdu and Bahasa Indonesia languages. “They will be distributed among the pilgrims, who speak the respective languages,” he said.

He added that the leaflets will tell the pilgrims of the health guidelines to be followed during their stay in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

In addition to these brochures, the ministry will also distribute leaflets containing visual messages of what the pilgrims should and should not do during their stay in the holy cities.

“We will also use the print and electronic media to convey the health messages to the pilgrims,” he said, adding that large bill boards will be displayed at strategic points in the holy sites to convey the health messages of the ministry. “We have made arrangements to convey these messages to the pilgrims with the help of a variety of visual aids,” he said.

Pilgrims have been asked not to keep their cooked food for more than two hours to prevent food poisoning.

They have also been requested to wash the fruits and green leaves before consumption. “Meat and vegetables should not be washed together in preparation for cooking,” he said.

The official said people should be careful when they mingle in mass gatherings. “It is advisable to wear masks in crowded places and change them frequently,” he said, adding that they should also pay special attention to personal hygiene and wash hands frequently. “Covering the mouth and nose while sneezing would help prevent the spread of disease,” he cautioned.

Pilgrims have been advised to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or a disinfectant, especially after coughing or sneezing, to maintain personal hygiene and prevent infection. They are also asked to use napkins to cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.

The Health Ministry has also issued a general advisory about maintaining personal hygiene, cooking and serving food hygienically in order to prevent diarrhea and vomiting, food poisoning, dysentery, typhoid and cholera. In addition, hands should be washed before and after eating.

Covering the face with a towel while sleeping in congested rooms also helps prevent respiratory infections.

Diagnosed cases of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, migraine, epilepsy, skin diseases, psychiatric illnesses and gastric ulcer should be properly controlled with appropriate treatment.

Prior to the commencement of the Haj season, the Foreign Ministry, on the advice of the Ministry of Health , sent out circulars to all Saudi embassies abroad detailing the quarantine requirements in the respective countries for the issue of the pilgrim visas.

Vaccinations for meningitis are mandatory for all pilgrims while those coming from endemic countries infected with various diseases, have to be vaccinated too.

The Kingdom has banned pilgrims from the three Ebola-affected countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.


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