‘90% of Nigerian pilgrims are from non-Ebola areas’
Ibrahim K. Muna, senior official of the Nigerian federal health ministry and head of his country’s Haj health affairs mission announced that some 42,020 pilgrims have arrived from Nigeria so far.
He said that the remaining 33,980 pilgrims are scheduled to arrive in the next couple of days, adding that most of the pilgrims are camped in Madinah and had started to move to Makkah from last week. The pilgrims came via the main entry ports of Prince Mohammed Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah aboard some 92 flights.
Commenting on the deadly Ebola virus in his country, Dr. Ibrahim said: “Nigeria is one of the largest countries in Africa with 36 states while the Ebola cases were reported in two states. “Only one of these states recorded two cases of Ebola,” he affirmed.
He also noted that about a 150 pilgrims hailed from the Ebola-ridden state and all of them were in good health condition and free from any diseases.
The official said that all the pilgrims arriving from Nigeria had undergone close multi-level screening under observation of the World Health Organization.
He explained that over 90 percent of the Haj pilgrims are arriving from non-Ebola regions but even in their case, the health authorities were screening them very carefully prior to their departure.
The official informed that the Nigerian government has deputed 400 medical teams including senior physicians and specialists in epidemiology in the holy cities to provide health care to Nigerian pilgrims besides monitoring their health condition.
“Pilgrims can have free medical check-ups in their accommodation where there is a medical team to provide health care,” he said, adding that the medical team supervised by a doctor had been assigned to each accommodation to care for the pilgrims.
“We treat pilgrims in our mission-run clinics and if it is required, patients may be referred to Saudi hospitals,” he said.
He pointed out that this year, Nigerian health officials in the holy cities are insisting on their pilgrims to maintain strict personal hygiene to prevent the incidence of communicable diseases.