Hajj: Pilgrims must go for medical consultations - GulfToday

Hajj: Pilgrims must go for medical consultations


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

In time for the Eid Al Adha holidays, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) on Monday released a list of six “important vaccinations” travelers must secure to keep them safe from possible risks of infections or illnesses at their destination country/countries.

The six are in accordance with the World Health Organization guidelines and which MoHaP highly recommends to also “prevent the transmission of (possible) diseases to the UAE through the passengers coming from endemic countries.”

Meanwhile from the June 11 press conference of the MoHaP in coordination with the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Health Authority, the panelists emphasized that those going for the Hajj must make it a point to go for medical consultations, get the required immunizations and medications, and to ensure they are fit to travel.

In that press conference, MoHaP-Immunization Section head Dr Laila Al Jasmi also said that pneumococcal vaccine and seasonal influenza vaccine must be had 10 to 15 days prior to the date of departure.

The six vaccinations in the Monday list are against Yellow Fever endemic in 44 countries located in Africa as well as Central and South America, and caused by infected mosquitoes, Meningococcal Meningitis for travelers going to the Sub-Saharan Africa, Hepatitis A as a result of consuming contaminated food and drink, Rabies for veterinarians and those dealing with animals, Influenza, and Pneumococcal Disease especially for the diabetic and smokers as well as cardiovascular and chronic lung sufferers.

MoHaP cautioned travelers to the South Pacific, Africa, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and some Asian countries against malaria: “(This could) be prevented when taking the appropriate medication before exposure to a mosquito bite.”

It advised Emiratis to get in touch with UAE embassies.

In a related news, Imperial College of London Diabetes Centre consultant Internal Medicine Dr. Farhana Bin Lootah offered tips for people with diabetes en-route to the Holy Cities of Mecca and Madina for the Hajj:

• Consult a doctor for state of health which includes foot inspection. Request for a  travel letter confirming medical history and the need to carry needles and syringes in a hand luggage. A copy of the latest list of medications in their generic names will come in handy.

• Be immunised against influenza and Meningococcal meningitis two weeks before departure.

• Store in the hand luggage a diabetes emergency kit with sufficient supplies of medications, insulin needles and insulin pens, a glucagon injection kit, cool bags to store in insulin and other injectable diabetes treatments, and face masks.

• Wear comfortable shoes. Take along enough supply of cotton socks.

• Do not forget hand sanitiser, medical wristband, umbrella, water spray and mask to prevent airborne infections.

• Make sure the insulin supply is always inside cool bags and away from direct sunlight. Adjust insulin doses if required.

• Regularly monitor glucose level particularly before Tawaf. Prepare glucose and ketone dipsticks to know diabetes control during Ihram.

• Take along dates, honey, fruit juice and other simple sugars for possible hypoglycemia. Be watchful for dizziness, sweating and palpitations.

• Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks. Drink a minimum of two litres of water each day.

• Perform regular daily foot care. Avoid walking barefoot. Be alert for aches, sore, and pain of the feet. Check the feet every day for unusual appearances such as bleeding and blisters.

Bin Lootah said the tips would help the diabetics “perform their Hajj duties (with) no reason for their condition to get in the way.”

In an unrelated news, low-income patients unable to afford treatment for bladder and lung cancer will receive medication supplied by AstraZeneca, following the signing of a new agreement between the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and the pharmaceutical company.

This Ministry of Health recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the multinational biopharmaceutical company, which will also benefit patients with lymphoma and acute asthma.

Related articles