As the Muslim world prepares for this year’s Hajj exercise, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has released health requirements and guidelines for the 2022 Hajj as part of COVID-19 preventive measures and health protocols for the Hajj period.
The health guidelines, released by the Kingdom’s Health Ministry, through its Nigerian embassy, the Saudi authorities instructed the compulsory use of facemasks whether indoors or outdoors in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj period.
A statement made available to the Tribune Online by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs at the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Fatima Sanda Usara, informed that Saudi also mandated foreign pilgrims to pay for health insurance that covered the cost of Covid-19 treatment while in the Kingdom.
“Apart from exempting persons over 65 years from performing the Hajj, high-risk pilgrims, categorised as those with severe ailments, such as active cancer or organ impairment, will also be restricted from participating in the exercise.
“Equally, the guideline mandates completion of basic immunization programmes before arrival into the Kingdom. These immunizations, Covid-19 vaccination, yellow fever inoculation, meningococcal meningitis vaccination received not less than 10 days to arrival in the Kingdom: its certificate should indicate the date the immunisation was dispensed,” Usara stated.
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Similarly, the statement stated that the Saudi health ministry requested evidence of poliomyelitis vaccine shot administered not less than four weeks to arrival in Saudi Arabia and not over 12 months ago.
“Notwithstanding the polio vaccination evidence, travellers from countries with known cases of wild polio would be administered with one dose of bOPV at the entry point (the droplets Nigerians usually receive upon arrival in Saudi Arabia),” the guideline stated.
Meanwhile, NAHCON on Wednesday commenced screening and orientation of eligible applicants for the 2022 National Medical Team (NMT).
The screening followed the inauguration of the principal officers of the NMT, who are saddled with the responsibility of pre-selection of qualified medical personnel for the 2022 Hajj operations, on May 12 2022.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the screening exercise, NAHCON Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, congratulated the shortlisted candidates and tasked those that would be successful to distinguish themselves in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Also speaking at the event, the NMT chairman, Sheikh Suleiman Momoh, who doubles as Sheikh Suleiman Momoh, NAHCON’s Commissioner Planning, Research, Statistics, and Library Studies (PRSLS), assured prospective NMT members of the Commission’s commitment to the success of the team.
He, however, enjoined them to make NAHCON and Nigeria proud as one of the best medical teams in this Hajj season.
On her part, the coordinator of the team, Pharmacist Zainab Ujudud Sheriff, urged those to be selected as the NMT members to deliver quality service to the pilgrims whom they would be engaged to serve.
While urging all members to work as a team, noting that NAHCON shall not compromise on discipline, Sheriff also urged them to be governed by their medical professional oath.