This stock image taken in 2012 shows part of the vast crowd at a holy site in Mecca during that year

WHO Outlines Medical Preparations for Hajj Pilgrims

With concerns raised about the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), with a majority of cases being reported in Saudi Arabia, health authorities boosted surveillance and health education for incoming pilgrims and installed a new lab at Mena Alwadi Hospital to rapidly conduct tests for suspected cases.

Health authorities and health care workers in Saudi Arabia are prepared for the millions of Hajj religious pilgrims to arrive in Mecca and Medina this week, with added precautions in place because of the regional Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak. More cases are being reported in Saudi Arabia than anywhere else, and the disease has a high mortality rate.

The World Health Organization posted a report Oct. 14 about the preparations. It said 22,500 health workers are staffing 25 hospitals with 5,250 beds and 141 health centers at four main pilgrimage areas. The Emergency Hospital of Mena is staffed just for this period, with 190 beds and new equipment to treat from 10,000 to 12,000 patients daily, and 95 mobile intensive care units are being positioned in crowded areas.

Last year, more than 372,000 people were assisted at Saudi Ministry of Health facilities during the Hajj. "All health services are provided free of charge, even complicated and costly interventions such as open-heart surgeries. Traditionally, cardiovascular diseases, heat exhaustation and dehydration, burns, food poisoning as well as kidney problems are leading causes of medical interventions during the Hajj," according to WHO's report.

This is the fourth consecutive year for WHO to be invited by the Ministry of Health to observe and to provide any required technical assistance during the Hajj. WHO this year designated the kingdom’s Centre for Mass Gathering Medicine as a WHO Collaborating Centre.

The MERS-CoV outbreak, which has sickened 138 people and caused 60 deaths so far, is expected to significantly reduce the number of pilgrims this year; the Saudi National Scientific Committee for Infectious Diseases recommended people older than 65, children, pregnant women, and those with underlying conditions postpone the pilgrimage because of the MERS-CoV risk. In addition, health authorities boosted surveillance and health education for incoming pilgrims and installed a new lab at Mena Alwadi Hospital to rapidly conduct tests for suspected cases.

Product Showcase

  • Kestrel 5400 Heat Stress Tracker WBGT Monitoring for Workplace Safety

    Ensure safety with the Kestrel® 5400 Heat Stress Tracker, the go-to choice for safety professionals and endorsed by the Heat Safety & Performance Coalition. This robust, waterless WBGT meter is ideal for both indoor and outdoor environments, offering advanced monitoring and data logging essential for OSHA compliance. It features pre-programmed ACGIH guidelines and alert settings to quickly signal critical conditions. Integrated with the cloud-based Ambient Weather Network, the 5400 allows managers to view, track, and log job site conditions remotely, ensuring constant awareness of potential hazards. Its capability for real-time mobile alerts and remote data access promotes proactive safety management and workplace protection, solidifying its role as a crucial tool in industrial hygiene. 3

  • Matrix's OmniPro Vision AI Collision Avoidance System

    OmniPro Vision AI is a state-of-the-art collision avoidance system that features NIOSH award-winning Visual Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. This highly accurate, powerful system identifies and alerts on pedestrians, vehicles and specified objects, ensuring safer facilities, mining operations and industrial sites. With its web-based cloud application, OmniPro Vision AI also logs and analyzes a wide range of data related to zone breach notifications. Operating without needing personal wearable devices or tags, OmniPro has visual and audible zone breach alerts for both operators and pedestrians. 3

  • NoiseCHEK Personal Noise Dosimeter

    SKC NoiseCHEK is the easiest-to-use dosimeter available! Designed specifically for OEHS professionals, SKC NoiseCHEK offers the easiest operation and accurate noise measurements. Everything you need is right in your palm. Pair Bluetooth models to your mobile devices and monitor workers remotely with the SmartWave dB app without interrupting workflow. Careful design features like a locking windscreen, sturdy clip, large front-lit display, bright status LEDs, and more make NoiseCHEK the top choice in noise dosimeters. Demo NoiseCHEK at AIHA Connect Booth 1003. 3