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Study of the Health Status of Non-Hamla Joining Hajjees (Muftaresheen) During Hajj, 1420 H.


Hajjees can be divided into two groups; the first which represents the majority, consists of those who join organized Hajj groups (Hamla), and the second consists of those who do not join organized Hajj groups. This group resides on the street and is therefore given the name "Muftaresheen". It is expected that these Hajjees will face numerous difficulties. Many studies have been conducted on Hamla Hajjes and none on the Muftaresheen. We decided to conduct this study to investigate the Muftaresheen, aiming to identify their demographic characteristics, health problems among them, and to assess their behavioral risk factors.


There are five major areas where most of the Muftaresheen reside in Mina; around Jamarat, on Pedestrian Street, around Masjid Alkhif, around Mina General Hospital, and underneath bridges. A sample size of 500 was determined using the proportional allocation method. The sample was recruited from the five regions. The investigating team was subsequently divided into 5 groups; each directed towards one of the above areas. On reaching the center of each area, the group chose one direction randomly, taking a sample every 10 meters. A self-administrated questionnaire translated into three languages; Arabic, Urdu and English was used.


Out of 412 respondents; 65% were under 40 years, 62% were domestic, but 95% were non-Saudis. Forty-seven percent had stayed in Makkah less than one week, 60% were performing Hajj for the first time, 47% were performing Hajj with friends, and 62% explained that the reason for staying on the street was financial. With regards to vaccination against meningococcal meningitis, 82% stated that they had received the vaccine prior to performing Hajj, and 45% got the vaccine in Saudi Arabia. More than two thirds (72%) received health education regarding risk behavior during Hajj, and 57% of them got it in Saudi Arabia. About 60% of Hajjees drank bottled and plastic bag water, 40% bought their food from street vendors and 27% kept leftover food more than 2 hours. Sixty eight percent were sleeping less than 6 hours per day due to different reasons. Forty five percent complained of one symptom or more; 18% had runny nose, 14.6% had headache, 14% had cough and 12% had sore throat. About half of Hajjees with symptoms sought treatment after two days of feeling them and 56% of Hajjees with symptoms took medicine. Thirty-two percent of Hajjees were not comfortable with performing Hajj in this way; 42% attributed the reason to overcrowding, 14% to bad climate, 14% to difficulties in obtaining food and 30% to bad odor.


Muftaresheen have more risks and hazards of numerous health problems, since they reside on very crowded streets and domains. A strong effort should be exert to stop this problem. This might be through intensifying health education about the hazards of staying in the streets, application of strict regulations regarding joining organized Hajj groups for everyone wishing to perform Hajj, and decreasing the cost of joining organized Hajj groups for the benefit of Hajjees with intermediate and low incomes.