World Health Organisation congratulates Saudi Arabia on successful Hajj

Kingdom made 'extraordinary efforts' to provide health care, body says

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The World Health Organisation has praised Saudi Arabia for its approach to health during Hajj season.

No major incidents or outbreaks of disease were detected during this year's pilgrimage, which drew around 1.8 million people to Makkah, said Ahmed Al Mandhari, the body's regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

“WHO congratulates the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leadership on the success of the Hajj season for this year,” Mr Al Madhari said in a post on Facebook.

“We appreciate the extraordinary efforts made by the Saudi authorities to organise and provide health services for the millions of pilgrims.”

The annual Hajj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, sees believers converge on the holy city of Makkah for several days of rituals in which they retrace the steps of the Prophet Mohammed.

All Muslims are expected to complete Hajj at least once in their lives if they have the means to do so.

It was the largest Hajj gathering since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and one of the hottest, leading to 6,500 people being treated for heatstroke, the Ministry of Health said.

The ministry added that around 32,000 people were working on health issues at the Hajj.

In a video shared by the WHO, a Saudi representative gave a tour of the health command and control centre.

The centre tracked hospital bed numbers, medical supplies, ambulance activity and which medical conditions are diagnosed, helping wider decisions on services.

“I was very impressed with what I saw in the command and control centre where 59 dashboards are reflecting all Hajj-related operations from start to finish including emergency operations, healthcare facilities, hospitals, surgeries and many other functions,” said Dr Adham Ismail, WHO representative in Saudi Arabia.

Updated: July 03, 2023, 5:19 AM