Every year, millions of pilgrims from across the globe visit Makkah to perform Hajj, a significant Islamic pilgrimage. India sends the third largest contingent of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Minority Affairs in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has put in place comprehensive arrangements for health support to pilgrims planning to visit Makkah. The aim is to ensure quality health services to the pilgrims during their entire journey, from point of embarkation till their return back to India.
Health Desks at Airports
To facilitate health services for the pilgrims, health desks will be set up at all departing airports. These health desks will coordinate the health needs of the pilgrims during departure.
Medical Screening & Fitness Certificate
Medical screening and fitness certificate are mandatory for pilgrims visiting Makkah. The Ministry of Health has issued directions to all states to provide medical screening and fitness certificates to applicant pilgrims. A detailed format for medical screening has been sent to the states. 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 make the process of obtaining the medical screening certificates across the country easier.
Health & Vaccination Camps
States and district health authorities will set up camps for selected pilgrims. Pre-departure detailed medical examination and vaccination will be provided in these camps. Health cards will also be issued to all pilgrims, examining their present health status and any existing diseases/co-morbidities, if any. The health status of the pilgrims 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 been advised to nominate a Nodal Officer for coordinating the activities in collaboration with the State Minority Welfare Department.
Health Infrastructure in Saudi Arabia
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will send a team of senior clinicians to Saudi Arabia during the first week of April 2023 to plan for the requirement of temporary hospitals, dispensaries, pharmacies, and camps in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Arafat & at the core ritual site of Mina. The team will assess the requirement of specialists, doctors, and paramedical staff based on their field assessment. The team will examine the need for medical equipment and medicines for these health facilities. The available medicines from Jan Aushadhi stores will be procured and provided in these facilities to ensure quality.
Health Professionals, Equipment and Medicines
The Ministry of Health has addressed all states and UTs to obtain a list of willing government medical and paramedical professionals. The selected health professionals will be extensively oriented on the expected health needs of the pilgrims to ensure quality health service delivery. The Ministry of Health will procure and provide the required number of Quadrivalent Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccine (QMMV) & Seasonal Influenza Vaccines (SIV) to the pilgrims.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs and Ministry of Health have undertaken a series of meetings to ensure comprehensive health arrangements for pilgrims planning to visit Makkah. The collaborative efforts are expected to ease the process of obtaining Medical Screening and Fitness Certificates and vaccination besides timely and quality healthcare services. The pilgrims will be screened for a wide range of medical issues to tackle any emergency effectively and quickly. The extensive health infrastructure creation in Makkah, Madinah & Jeddah, along with the provision of health desks at airports, health & vaccination camps, and trained health professionals will ensure quality health services to the pilgrims during their entire journey.