Indian envoy visits Mecca, inspects Haj arrangements

The Indian envoy, during his visit, also visited medical centres, branch offices and dispensaries in the city….reports Asian Lite News

India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr Suhel Khan visited Mecca and took stock of facilities set up for Indian Haj pilgrims.

The Indian envoy also met with several Indian Haj pilgrims who arrived from various states and reviewed the bus transportation facility them. India in Saudi Arabia tweeted, “Ambassador Dr Suhel Khan visited Makkah and met with Indian Haj pilgrims coming from various states. Ambassador also reviewed the bus transport arrangements for the Indian Haj pilgrims.”

The Indian envoy, during his visit, also visited medical centres, branch offices and dispensaries in the city.

“Three large medical centers with a total in-patient capacity of 90 beds and more than 15 other dispensaries have been set up in Makkah for the Indian pilgrims,” tweeted India in Saudi Arabia.

Notably, to ensure quality health support to Indian pilgrims, India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs works in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for comprehensive health arrangements for pilgrims planning to visit Mecca for the Haj pilgrimage.

Each year, Saudi Arabia hosts around 25 lakh to 30 lakh pilgrims from across the globe to visit Mecca and India sends the third largest contingent of Haj pilgrims in the world.

Such a large number of pilgrims also pose unique public health challenges, and the medical requirements of the pilgrims in Mecca, Medinah, and Jeddah must be well-cared for.

While the number of pilgrims had shown a decreasing trend in the last three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year a larger number of Indian pilgrims are expected to visit Mecca. For the present year, a quota of 1,75,025 pilgrims has been allotted to India.

With a view to ensuring comprehensive and quality services to the pilgrims, India’s Minister of Minority Affairs and Minister of Health have undertaken a series of meetings accompanied by officials from both ministries.

The Ministry of Health accordingly issued directions to all States on March 21, 2023 wherein States have been advised to provide Medical Screening & Fitness Certificates for applicant pilgrims and a detailed format for such screening has been sent to the States.

With a view to aid the applicants, this year the Medical Screening and Fitness Certificate by the applicant can be issued by any Government allopathic medical doctor in the States/UTs. This will ease the process of getting medical screening certificates across the country.

Moreover, Health and Vaccination Camps have been directed that states and district health authorities will also set up Camps for the selected pilgrims wherein the pre-departure detailed Medical Examination and Vaccination will also be provided.

A Health Card for all the pilgrims will also be issued in these camps which will examine the selected pilgrims for their present health status, and the existing diseases/co-morbidities, if any.

It is planned that the health status will be made available to the Medical Teams in Saudi Arabia through digital means for timely health service delivery in case of any emergency.

Each State has accordingly been advised to nominate a Nodal Officer for coordinating the activities in collaboration with the State Minority Welfare Department.

Ministry of Health will procure and provide the required number of Quadrivalent Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccines (QMMV) & Seasonal Influenza Vaccines (SIV) to the pilgrims.

Further, Health Desks will also be set up at all departing airports for coordinating the health needs of the pilgrims during the departure.

The collaborative efforts by the Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Ministry of Health are expected to ensure easing the process of obtaining Medical Screening Fitness Certificates and vaccination besides timely and quality healthcare services from point of embarkation till their return back to India. (ANI)

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