The Ministry of Health and Prevention in UAE has called upon Ramadan Umrah pilgrims to head to primary health and preventive medicine centres to get vaccinated against infectious diseases.
The Ministry has also advised pilgrims to follow health recommendations ahead and during their stay, as a means to protect their health and wellbeing throughout their Umrah.
Dr. Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Under-Secretary for Health Centres and Clinics at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, said, "This campaign is in alignment with the Ministry’s strategic efforts to develop a preventive healthcare system within the UAE society to ensure protection from and control of infectious diseases."
The efforts aim to safeguard Umrah pilgrims and their families against infectious diseases and prevent their spread in the society.
He also noted that the work group has been set up, and led by the Health Centres and Clinics sector, including the Preventive Medicine and International Health Regulation Departments, with active participation from Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (Haad) and Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
The work group was formed with the purpose of enhancing health awareness to ensure safe and healthy pilgrims and prevent infectious diseases through pre-travel vaccinations and following health recommendations.
Doctors and health experts have also recommended that Umrah pilgrims should get vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal disease, the latter is an infectious disease that poses a threat for people.
Therefore, vaccination against pneumococcal disease is considered the most effective measure for the prevention of pneumonia.
In this regard, Dr. Omniyat Al Hajeri, Director of Public Health and Research, Health Authority Abu Dhabi, stated that, as prevention is better than cure, and for the purpose of safeguarding Umrah pilgrims against infectious diseases that are associated with mass gatherings from different nationalities, Haad urges all travelers to take the necessary vaccinations at least two weeks ahead of their Umrah pilgrimage.
She added that these vaccines include meningococcal vaccination to prevent meningitis, seasonal influenza vaccine, which is strongly recommended, and pneumococcal vaccine to prevent pneumonia in people over the age of 65 who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, kidney diseases as well as those with low immunity.
From her side, Dr. Nahid Youssef, Director of Preventive Medicine Division, Dubai Health Authority, reminds pilgrims of the importance of consulting their doctors ahead of travel to ensure that their health is in a stable condition.
She also reminded people with chronic conditions to carry their medication as per the required dosage with them.
Additionally, Dr. Youssef highlighted the importance of taking vaccines by those with chronic diseases and elderly travelers to boost their immunity, while advising them to follow the health recommendations and preventive measures against meningococcal and pneumococcal diseases.
Dr. Youssef noted that vaccination is one the most effective preventive measures. Incase pilgrims experience any symptoms during their stay, they can take pain killers and fever medication until they consult a doctor.