Pilgrims urged to take health precautions before traveling

KUWAIT: Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Affairs Dr Majeda Al-Qattan announced putting into effect the recommendations made by Saudi authorities for this year’s pilgrimage, and distributing various directives to all health zones and prevention centers with the main guidelines.
Qattan explained that 20,000 health cards have been printed for pilgrims and distributed to 40 preventive medicine centers, in addition to distributing 20,000 shots of meningitis vaccines, 15,000 seasonal flu vaccines and 12,000 pneumococcal vaccines. Further, Qattan said that all health centers at various exit borders have been notified to finish preparations to monitor departing and arriving pilgrims through opening enough fully equipped and manned clinics to work on a 24/7 basis.
In addition, Qattan said that preventive medicine centers have already started receiving Hajj applications from 10,000 pilgrims to be medically examined and given due vaccinations. “Do not accompany children below five without giving them due vaccines,” Qattan stressed and advised pregnant women to check with their doctors before travelling.
Furthermore, Qattan said that administrative and medical staff members have also been examined and vaccinated to make sure they are free of any contagious diseases. Finally, Qattan advised all pilgrims to avoid direct sunlight, stay hydrated, avoid gatherings of camels and other animals and follow hygiene rules with regards to having food or beverages of unknown sources.

Hajj prices
In the meantime, MP Majed Al-Mutairi urged Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Fahad Al-Sholah to find a solution to the soaring prices of Hajj convoys and put an end to the ‘shares’ policy, noting that distribution of pilgrims to various convoys have been manipulated for ‘various reasons.’ Mutari suggested a maximum number of 500 pilgrims per convoy to open for competition amongst various ones according to the services and competitive prices they provide. “Competitiveness and cancelling distributions to certain convoys will create serious supply and demand,” he added, noting that this principle had been neglected in previous years, and caused the increase in prices of low cost bedoon convoys from KD 900 last year to KD 1,300 this year per pilgrim.
In other news, the Public Authority for Housing Welfare announced offering six new housing projects in various areas for public bidding, adding that the project would be in East Sabah Al-Ahmad, South Saad Al-Abdullah, South Sabah Al-Ahmad, Nawaf Al-Ahmad City and completion of Al-Khairan city. The authority also noted that the projects are currently in the planning and design phase and that detailed information is available at its website.

By Meshaal Al-Enezi and A Saleh