WHO EMRO Weekly Epidemiological Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 36 (08 September 2019)

from World Health Organization
Published on 08 Sep 2019 View Original

Current major event

Public Health Mitigation Measures for Hajj Season 2019

This year's Hajj in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was attended by over 2.5 million pilgrims from up to 180 countries. The potential risk for spread of infectious diseases associated with mass gatherings is well recognized.

Different public health measures are undertaken by Saudi Ministry of Health for better curative, preventive and promotive health services that provided for pilgrims.

Editorial note

The potential risk for spread of infectious diseases associated with mass gatherings is well recognized. Hajj, the unique annual mass religious gathering of around 2.5 million Muslims from all over the world (including 634,379 from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) presents enormous challenges to the authorities in Saudi Arabia. Hajj this year came at a time of numerous threats to global public health. WHO recently recognized the outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), requiring a global response. Moreover, cholera, measles, polio, dengue fever, Lassa fever, and other infectious diseases with epidemic potential are being reported from many countries participating in the hajj, highlighting the need for early detection of, and timely response to, public health emergencies. The Health Early Warning System (HEWS) tool was developed by the Saudi Mistry of Health in collaboration with WHO to facilitate detection and response.

HEWS is building on an existed surveil-lance system run by Health Information System (HIS) department in Saudi Minis-try of Health. The HEWS is an electronic base platform and is being implemented in the entire health facilities in the holy areas. The HEWS surveillance contain all main variables/information to classify the cases by syndromes. The HEWS have interoperability characteristics that facilitates automatic data transfer in real-time from routine HIS to the HEWS data capture system. The transferred data included age, sex, nationality and presenting symptoms.