June 25, 2024

Over 1300 died during 2024 hajj, Saudi Arabia confirms

Hajj pilgrims 'stone the devil' as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha

Hajj pilgrims ‘stone the devil’ as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha

…Nigeria medical team releases own records

By Haroon-Ishola Balogun from Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Minister of Health, Fahd Al-Jalajel has said the ministry recorded 1,301 deaths during the recent Hajj season.

Fahd Al-Jalajel disclosed that 83% of the mortalities were unauthorized pilgrims who performed Hajj and walked long distances under direct sunlight, without adequate shelter or comfort. “Among the deceased were several elderly and chronically ill individuals.”

The minister underscored the significant efforts made by the competent authorities to raise awareness of the dangers of heat stress and the importance of preventive measures.

He extended his condolences, saying, “May God forgive and have mercy on the deceased. Our heartfelt condolences go to their families. May God accept their deeds and grant them recompense for their suffering.

“All reports have been compiled, families of the deceased notified, and identification completed, despite the initial lack of personal information or identification documents. Proper processes were followed for identification, burial, and honoring the deceased, with death certificates provided,” he said.

He pointed out that the health system addressed numerous cases of heat stress this year, with some individuals still under care.

Al-Jalajel added that the Hajj season concluded successfully with no recorded outbreaks of epidemics or widespread diseases.

The health system provided more than 465,000 specialized treatment services, including 141,000 services to those who didn’t obtain official authorization to perform Hajj.

In a media interview, he expressed reassurance about the overall health condition of the pilgrims, despite the high temperatures experienced in the Holy Sites.

He highlighted the positive impact of the health authorities’ swift response and the effective support of the Hajj security forces in managing and reducing the effects of heat stress.

Al-Jalajel also detailed that the Kingdom’s provision of free health services to pilgrims commenced even before their arrival, with awareness programs at air, sea, and land border crossings.

Approximately 1.3 million preventive services were delivered, including early detection, vaccinations, and medical care upon arrival.

The healthcare services offered included open-heart surgeries, cardiac catheterization, dialysis, and emergency care, totaling over 30,000 ambulance services, with 95 air ambulance operations ensuring the delivery of advanced health services in medical cities across the Kingdom.

Additionally, the healthcare system made available nearly 6,500 beds and rooms. Measures to combat heat stress included the development of devices that enable rapid and effective rescue of affected individuals.

However, the good news is that that the next year would mark the last Hajj during the intense summer heat.

Muslim pilgrims from across the world will experience the last summer Hajj next year “before a 17-year hiatus from the hotter months.

Nigeria records on heatstroke and other medicals

Meanwhile, 17 pilgrims from Nigeria were affected by the heatstroke but only two reportedly died from heat complications. Others received prompt attention of Nigeria medics and were revived.

According to the head of Medical Team, Dr. Abubakar Ismaeel, 15 deaths were recorded during the pre-hajj and immediately after hajj period.

He explained that out of the number, 3 were recorded from the Mashair while 12 were recorded during the pre-Arafat period.

This was also contained in the report he presented to stakeholders including the media men during the post-Arafat meeting held in Makkah, Saudi Arabia recently.

He also explained that six pregnancies were recorded out of which three miscarriages occured. He added that a total of 14,504 consultations were made which also included 79 emergencies.

He advised hajj managers to be thorough in pre-hajj medical screening, proposing that a certificate of medical fitness be issued to those who are fit while those found unfit be given special arrangements.