Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Patient leaflets on the Hajj

Saudi Arabia has several strategies to care for pilgrims on the Hajj

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 06 December 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7731
  1. Ziad A Memish, assistant deputy minister1
  1. 1Preventive Medicine Directorate, Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health, Riyadh 11176, Saudi Arabia
  1. zmemish{at}

The following link provides information on the Hajj for health practitioners and pilgrims in six languages ( Toll-free information is available by calling +8002494444.

It is essential to coordinate local messaging with official Saudi Arabia ministry sources. Details do matter. What might seem a trivial digression from official Saudi Arabia information may be misleading and even harmful to our pilgrims. Immunisation requirements are particularly important.2

Although ministry outreach efforts are largely directed through public health portals, in particular those of the World Health Organization, we expect to develop accessible Hajj messaging through local public health agencies and social media, including medical practitioner specific portals that should be operational in time for Hajj 2012. We pay close attention to primary care doctors who must implement our policies for individual patients.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has an advanced healthcare system infrastructure. There are 141 primary medical clinics and 24 hospitals in the immediate vicinity of the Hajj that are well staffed with nurses and doctors. Perhaps the most useful patient information that primary care doctors can provide us with is a brief diagnostic summary with prescription details in a document small enough to fit into a pilgrim’s wallet or money pouch.

Saudi Arabia, with the support of the WHO, expects to inaugurate an international reference centre for mass gatherings medicine in the near future.3 4 This centre will be the first of its kind and will deal with medical and scientific issues that have not found support elsewhere.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7731


  • Competing interests: None declared.