2007 News Story

Ministry of Health announces contingency plans for this year’s Hajj

The Ministry of Health has announced contingency plans for the upcoming Hajj, the Arab News reported today. Dr. Redha Khaleel, adviser and head of the ministry’s Hajj Preparation Committee, made the announcements yesterday.

Mount Arafat Hospital will undergo a $5.9 million renovation, increasing its bed capacity to 250. Some 9,600 medical personnel – including doctors, nurses, field workers and inspectors – will be on duty.  There will be 86 health centers in Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina to provide care for pilgrims of all nationalities. In addition, seven local hospitals in areas nearby have been designated to accept serious cases that require advanced medical care.

The ministry’s fleet of ambulances is being increased to 96, up from 76 last year.  The fleet will also include small ambulances that can move easily through crowded areas and pedestrian zones and provide on-the-spot treatment.

Preparations also include cooperating with other ministries who have a role in the Hajj operations as well as dealing with virus outbreaks, emergency evacuations, food poisoning and other contingency plans.

Khaleel noted that foreign pilgrims require certain vaccinations before entering Saudi Arabia, and that the requirements have been publicized at all Saudi consulates and embassies.

The Ministry is also urging Saudi doctors who are not scheduled to work during the Hajj to register with the ministry and contribute to humanitarian efforts to help the pilgrims.