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Govt assures health support for Haj pilgrims

2023-12-03 11:55:37source:news

The government has assured comprehensive health support to Indian Haj pilgrims this year — from the point of boarding to their journey back.

Govt assures health support for Haj pilgrims

To offer overall health arrangements for pilgrims planning to visit Mecca this year, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is collaborating with the Health Ministry.

Govt assures health support for Haj pilgrims

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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 pilgrims. This year, a quota of 1,75,025 pilgrims has been allotted to India, of which 1.4 lakh will go through the Haj Committee.

Govt assures health support for Haj pilgrims

The others will go through private tour operators, Mohd Yakoob Shekha, CEO of Haj Committee of India, said.

The Health Ministry has issued directions to all states to provide for medical screening and fitness certificates for applicants. With a view to help the applicants, the certificate can be issued by any government allopathic medical doctor in the states, the Minority Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday.

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Besides, states and district health authorities will also set up camps for pilgrims for pre-departure medical examination and vaccination, the statement said.

Health desks will be set up at all airports to coordinate the health needs of the pilgrims during departure. The Health Ministry will send a team to Saudi Arabia in April to plan for the requirement of temporary hospitals, dispensaries, pharmacies and camps that may be required in Mecca, Madinah, Jeddah, Arafat, and at the core ritual site of Mina.

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The team will assess the requirement of specialists, doctors and paramedical staff based on their field assessment, the statement said.

Officials said pilgrims under 12 years are not allowed this year since they are not vaccinated against Covid-19. Most of those who have registered are in the age group of 40-65 years, and likely to have age-related comorbidities, they said. While the number of pilgrims had been decreasing over the last three years due to the pandemic, this year’s number corresponds to the 2019 quota upper limit of 1.40 lakh allotted to the Haj Committee.

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Around 140 pilgrims were reported to have died during the pilgrimage in 2018 and 2019, while 21 deaths due to natural causes were recorded in 2022, as per data available on the Haj Committee website.

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