Nigeria to safeguard health of Pilgrims

Gloria Essien, Abuja

Nigeria has approved the deployment of surveillance officers as part of the medical mission to the 2017 Hajj Pilgrimage.

This is to detect and control any disease among the participants of the annual religious activity.

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said it was necessary for the country to prevent the importation of diseases as well as to avoid taking them out, in the face of global diseases outbreaks.

The Minister was speaking during a meeting between the officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, led by the Executive Secretary, Malam Abba Yakubu.

 “We are looking at setting up a surveillance team to monitor diseases of public health concern especially meningitis, cholera and measles,” Professor Adewole said.

Trained Agents
The Minister stated that agents trained by the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program would constitute the surveillance team, which will be embedded with the medical team.

He also announced that Health officials would be trained to manage the demands of the pilgrims and to ensure ethical conduct in the discharge of their activities.

The Executive Secretary of the National Hajj Commission, Malam Abba Yakubu said that the agency was currently reforming the medical mission.

Harmonisation of Medical Teams
He also identified the harmonisation of medical teams between Federal and States Government as well as the process of drugs procurement, saying that only local drug manufacturers will be patronised.

The Head of the NAHCON Medical Mission, Dr. Ibrahim Kana said the medical mission was fully prepared and equipped to meet the pilgrims as the number of patients has recorded significant increase.

The Government also agreed to setup dedicated communication channels including Telephone helpline and Social Media support to provide real-time assistance on any medical issue related to the Hajj.

Confidence Okwuchi