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ICU patients were able to embark on their Hajj pilgrimage from Madinah to Makkah with the help of a specialised team of health professionals.
Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, must be undertaken by all Muslims who have the means to do so at least once.
The Saudi Ministry of Health convoy for inpatient pilgrims set off on July 5, after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The annual ritual involves transporting pilgrims from Madinah hospitals to the holy sites in Makkah, 450km away, to allow them to perform Hajj.
The Saudi Ministry of Health said the convoy included 10 ambulances, with a specialised medical team comprising doctors, nurses and paramedics. Five backup ambulances, an intensive care ambulance, an integrated oxygen cabin, a mobile mechanic workshop, and a bus to transport patients’ spouses and relatives have also been provided.
Every year, Saudi Arabia provides free health care to millions of people who arrive for the Hajj pilgrimage, with treatments ranging from simple check-ups to dentistry and life-saving heart surgery.
More than 43,000 pilgrims have benefited from these services in Makkah and Madinah this year, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health said.
The government bears all costs of medical care and treatment, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and include cardiac catheterisations, childbirth and dialysis, among other surgeries.