Preparedness for Mass Gathering During Hajj and Umrah
The role of public health preparedness at mass gatherings (MGs) and a framework to ensure a safe and healthy mass gathering are provided in this chapter. The unique aspects of Hajj and Umrah events, including their massive size and the interplay of environmental conditions with the international nature of attendees, require proper and thorough public health preparation.
The key aspects of a framework designed to promote public health at mass gatherings are also outlined in this chapter. The key aspects include risk assessment, public health surveillance; regulations, legislation and policy; emergency planning and response; environmental health; public health awareness; strengthening communication; and internal organizational and capacity building. Our search evaluates literatures pertaining to the frameworks of public health concerns at mass gatherings and analyzes the preparedness and effectiveness of such regulations and projections in current models of disaster preparedness and public health promotion. Such a model is crucial for setting the stage for decision-making and ensuring the safety of attendees; it should be implemented before the commencement of the event.
Further, the health risks associated with attending a mass gathering such as Hajj/Umrah are discussed. Clinicians and attendees have specific roles to play in ensuring good public health during these pilgrimages. Clinicians have a role in ensuring attendees are well equipped with the knowledge and resources to stay healthy during Hajj/Umrah, which helps to protect the public from infectious disease transmission. Attendees have a role in ensuring personal health and maintaining hygiene standards. Infectious diseases of concern at such mass gatherings include Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV), meningococcal disease, diarrheal disease and seasonal influenza. Other diseases of concern include the potential for pilgrims to contract Zika due to local populations of Zika vectors.
Specific vaccine requirements and knowledge regarding health warnings are crucial to Hajj attendees when traveling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). In addition, pilgrims are encouraged to seek accurate information related to travel and visas and requirements of Hajj-specific travel visas.
KeywordsHajj Public health Mass gathering Preparedness Vaccine
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