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CommunityHealthHow to have a healthy Hajj 2022

One million Muslim pilgrims will be heading over to Makkah this year to complete one of Islam’s main tenets, Hajj. The pilgrimage is arduous and a challenge in itself, therefore, it is important to be prepared beforehand. This includes choosing the right clothes and footwear to taking all health precautions including the necessary vaccines. Last week, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) advised pilgrims and the community to follow precautions before and during...
Asma Ali ZainJuly 4, 202212 min
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Muslim pilgrims from all over the world gathered to perform Umrah or Hajj at the Haram Mosque.Pilgrims perform the Tawaf around the Kaaba of 7 rounds/Shutterstock

One million Muslim pilgrims will be heading over to Makkah this year to complete one of Islam’s main tenets, Hajj.

The pilgrimage is arduous and a challenge in itself, therefore, it is important to be prepared beforehand. This includes choosing the right clothes and footwear to taking all health precautions including the necessary vaccines.

Last week, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) advised pilgrims and the community to follow precautions before and during travel.

Here is all you need to know how to prepare for a safe Hajj 2022:

The official Hajj delegation of the UAE

The delegation provides various services to UAE pilgrims during Hajj season and is comprised of different services. The preaching committee gives religious guidance to pilgrims on the Hajj rituals, answers their questions and provides them with booklets to better understand different aspects and rules of Hajj. The delegation provides free healthcare services to all UAE pilgrims, including a mobile treatment facility to prevent the spread of illnesses. It also prepares an emergency plan which includes deploying buses close to pilgrims permanently in anticipation of any emergency. 

Basic and optional vaccinations before Hajj

The health ministry has asked pilgrims, especially those suffering from chronic diseases, to visit health centres before traveling to ensure they are able to perform Hajj and also to take the required doses of Covid-19 vaccines. 

Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, assistant undersecretary for the Public Health Sector at MoHAP said that pilgrims, especially those with chronic diseases, the elderly and pregnant women, need special care. He said that the ministry provides free blood pressure and diabetes tests and has launched awareness programmes for pilgrims. 

“Campaigns are held to maintain the health and safety of all pilgrims to prevent all potential health risks, including spread of infectious and chronic diseases,” he said, according to a press release issued by the ministry.  

He also said that vaccinations are considered the most successful and effective preventive measures against infectious diseases. The ministry provides free vaccinations in all its health facilities.

Here is a list of required vaccinations:

  • Vaccine for meningitis
  • Seasonal influenza and pneumococcal infections
  • Covid-19 (Pfizer/BioNTech: 2 doses, Oxford/AstraZeneca: 2 doses, Moderna: 2 doses)

Age limit and testing requirements

Hajj will be available this year for those under 65 years of age, provided they obtain the basic doses of approved vaccines and they present a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival to the Kingdom.

Quarantine requirements

No quarantine is necessary for foreign pilgrims fully vaccinated with vaccines approved in Saudi Arabia. However, travelers arriving on visit visas (including pilgrims) must have medical insurance to cover any Covid-19 related treatment costs during their stay.

The Holo-Doctor

The Holo-Doctor
Image courtesy Saudi Health

In late June the Saudi Minister of Health, Fahd Al-Jalajel, announced the launch of the Holo-Doctor service for pilgrims via Madinah International airport.

The service allows patients to be diagnosed by doctors from Seha Virtual Hospital SVH in the capital, Riyadh, in cooperation with hospitals in Makkah, Madinah and the Holy Sites. The aim is to provide real-time consultations from a virtual team working 24/7 in three main specialities: strokes, intensive care, and radiology. Patients can stand in front of the device at the airport and experience a two-way interaction with a physician, who can view and analyze their vital signs despite being hundreds of miles away. Saudi Health also provides immediate medical consultation services by calling the toll-free number 937, or by entering the SEHATY app.

Health protocols

Wearing a mask in closed public spaces is not mandatory, however, it is still required for entry to the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. Face masks may also be required at public events, public transportation and health facilities, according to Wego.com.

Additional precautionary measures

The ministry has also asked pilgrims to adhere to all precautionary measures to avoid health problems during Hajj, including exposure to heat exhaustion and physical stress to minimize the chances of contracting diseases and health problems. Pilgrims have also been asked to follow a healthy diet.

Attire and footwear

The pilgrimage lasts for a total of five or six days where a lot of walking and travelling is required, therefore carrying the right kind of gear will make the journey comfortable. The Hajj season is taking place in July, so it will be relatively hot.

Comfortable footwear is a must for all the walking. For most of the journey, pilgrims need to wear the Ihram, which is achieved by completing the correct cleansing rituals and wearing specified attire. For women, only the face and hands should be visible. For men, that includes no shaving, and for everyone, it includes no cutting of nails or scented toiletries or perfumes, as well as abstaining from arguing, impure thoughts or marital relations.

Packing for her

Three or four modest loose fitting and long-sleeved outfits, ideally, white or light-colored should be packed. Breathable and cotton materials will definitely work better in the summer heat. Women should take at least two head coverings and keep changing between them.

Right after Hajj, it will be Eid so something to celebrate should also be packed. 

Packing for him

Males must wear the Ihram outfit, which is created out of two white un-hemmed sheets. Pack more than one set so that there is a clean option on alternate days.

After the 10th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, men can wear other clothes. Also loose cotton underwear should be packed once the Ihram is removed.

Additional items to pack…

  • Lightweight pyjamas for sleeping in.
  • Flip flops, towels and comfortable footwear
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair products and unscented soap.
  • Sunscreen and unscented lip balm
  • Masks and sanitizer spray or gel.

Asma Ali Zain

Asma Ali Zain is a Dubai based journalist with a field experience of 19 years. She has written extensively on a range of topics and key issues in the region and beyond but her areas of expertise are health, wellbeing and lifestyle writings. She loves tea, cats and sunsets.

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