Hajj 2017: FG to deploy surveillance officers to safeguard Nigerian pilgrims

Muslim pilgrims in Mecca

ABUJA (Health Ministry’ Report)- The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the deployment of surveillance officers as part of the medical mission to the 2017 Hajj Pilgrimage to detect and control any disease among the participants of the annual religious activity.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole made the announcement recently in Abuja, during a meeting between the officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, led by the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Barr. Abdullahi Mukthar.

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

The Minister noted that agents trained by the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) would constitute the surveillance team, which will be embedded with the medical team.

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

Speaking earlier, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Hajj Commission, Barr. Abdullahi Mukthar said that the agency is currently reforming the medical mission.

He also identified the harmonization of medical teams between Federal Government and States as well as the process of drugs procurement, adding that only local drug manufacturers would be patronized.

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

The Federal 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.