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Assessment of Omani pilgrim health-related services provided Bb Hamla, during and after Hajj, 1438H (2017).


Any Omani performing hajj must use a hajj agency (hamla) authorized by the Omani Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs (MOE). Each hamla must follow housing, transportation, and food safety standards established by the MOE. We had two objectives: to assess the health-related services provided by each hamla, and to assess the health supervisory role of the Omani hajj delegation.


We used a standardized questionnaire to interview hamla and sub-hamla leaders. The questionnaire assessed health-related services they provided, as well as any interactions they had with the formal Omani health delegation. Interviews were conducted in Makkah and Mena during hajj.


We interviewed 76 hamla and sub-hamla leaders, who were responsible for approximately 12,000 Omani hajj pilgrims. Of respondents, 13% reported knowing of a pilgrim with chronic disease, 4% of respondents reported offering specific diets (i.e., diabetic) for pilgrims requiring them, and 28% reported giving health lectures for pilgrims prior to hajj. No preventive health education was provided by the Omani delegation's medical team during hajj. Visits by the Omani delegation medical team were only in response to an ill/injured pilgrim; 25% of hamla reported receiving a visit from the Omani delegation's medical team.


We identified multiple gaps in hamla-provided health-related services. This could be due to low awareness of the importance of health issues among hamla leaders or lack of legislation from MOE. Clear legislation or requirements from MOE about diets, health education and attending BLS and first Aid courses may encourage hamlas to improve their health-related services. Also, good collaboration between MOH, MOE and hamla in aspect of health education, sharing information and conducting BLS and first Aid courses may improve pilgrim health and safety. Furthermore, the medical team in hajj delegation should have a supervisory role as well as a treatment role.