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Health - Related Services Provided for Hospitalized Hajjees During Shifting to Arafat, Makkah, Hajj 1420 H.


Arafat visit is a fundamental part of the Hajj. The Ministry of Health transports patients hospitalized in its hospitals in Makkah area to Arafat to complete the Hajj rituals. There is a need for a better understanding of the needs of the transported patients (TPs) for further improvements of this service. The objective of this study is to describe the pattern of the TPs and their satisfaction with this service.


A questionnaire inquiring about demographic characteristics, diagnosis, and mode of transportation of each TP was completed in all governmental hospitals in Makkah city. During the trip to Arafat, observations were recorded. After the trip, using the list of the TPs provided by hospitals, a sample of TPs was selected from each hospital. Using a structured questionnaire, patients were interviewed and requested to assess their satisfaction, needs and suggestions.


The study included 285 TPs and most of them were from King Abdulaziz hospital 98 (34.4%) and Al-Noor specialist 77 (27%). The mean age of TPs was 60 (±12) years with 1.8: 1 male to female ratio. 115 (40%) of the TPs were Arabs from countries other than GCC and 86 (30.2%) were from the Indian subcontinent. The majority of the TPs were admitted to medical ward (53.7%) and complaining of respiratory system diseases (26%). A total of 81% of the TPs were transported by regular chairs on buses, 17.5% by beds on buses, and 1.4% by ambulances. Out of the TPs who were admitted to either Intensive care (ICU) or coronary care units (CCU), 71.4% were transported on regular chairs, 9.5% on beds, and 19% by ambulances. Concerning the service, all the TPs expressed their satisfaction about the quantity of food and drinks and 96% about the quality of food. During the trip, 64% of the TPs believed that the temperature was adequate, 20% felt very cold, and 16% felt very hot in the vehicles. Out of 46% of the TPs who felt a desire to pass urine, 52% of them didn't pass urine because there were no toilets available. 9% of TPs believed that their health condition became worse after the trip. Half of TPs gave suggestions, out of them, 83% suggested to complete other Hajj rituals, 9% to provide toilets, and 9% to facilitate movements at Arafat gates.


Although the MOH services were appreciated by all the TPs, there is a need for continuous improvement of this service; particularly that most of the TPs were elderly. ICU and CCU patients are at higher risk to develop complications of their illnesses that necessitate further precautions when transported. It is recommended to develop clear selection criteria for the TPs and assist the less serious groups to complete other Hajj rituals, application of risk score for the TPs, establishment of special gates at Arafat for the TPs and providing well-equipped buses for the transportation process, in addition to promotion of health and religious education.