Envoy visits Mecca and inspects the arrangements for Indian Hajj pilgrims

Envoy visits Mecca and inspects plans for Indian Hajj pilgrims


Dr Suhel Khan, India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, visited Mecca and assessed the facilities made up for Indian Hajj pilgrims.
The Indian envoy also met with numerous Indian Hajj pilgrims from various states and examined their bus transportation options. “Ambassador Dr Suhel Khan visited Makkah and met with Indian Hajj pilgrims from various states,” India’s embassy in Saudi Arabia tweeted. The ambassador also went through the bus transportation arrangements for Indian Hajj 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 Hajj 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 Hajj 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. Furthermore, Health Desks will be set up at all departing airports to coordinate the pilgrims’ health needs during their journey.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Ministry of Health’s collaborative efforts are expected to ease the process of obtaining Medical Screening Fitness Certificates and vaccination, as well as timely and quality healthcare services from the point of embarkation until their return to India.