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Running Head: PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
Preparing Saudi Red Crescent for Al-Hajj Season
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PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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Table of Contents
Preparing Saudi Red Crescent for Al-Hajj Season ………………………………………………………………………. 4
Background of the problem ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7
Health systems at Saudi Arabia ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9
Major players……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10
Ministry of Health………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
The Saudi Red Crescent ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
Al-Hajj season ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12
Location …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 12
Movement of Hajj……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 13
Stage 1 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13
Stage 2 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13
Stage 3 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14
Stage 4 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14
Stage 5 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15
Stage 6 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15
The associated challenges ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
Size of gathering ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15
Diversity of the population……………………………………………………………………………………………… 16
Climate conditions …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
Other issues and challenges ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
Current measures and bodies to handle and manage Hajj ……………………………………………………… 18
Supreme Hajj Committee ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18
Ministry of Health………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 19
Preventive health measures ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20
Therapeutic medical interventions ……………………………………………………………………………………… 21
Saudi Red Crescent`s role in Hajj ……………………………………………………………………………………… 21
General Hajj Committee …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 22
The historical context of Hajj disasters …………………………………………………………………………….. 23
Problem statement ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 24
PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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Purpose of the study ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 25
Literature review ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 25
Past disasters in mass gatherings ………………………………………………………………………………………… 25
Management efforts of such incidents ………………………………………………………………………………… 27
Gaps witnessed ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 28
Clinical considerations ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 29
Infectious illnesses ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 30
Noninfectious illnesses ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 32
Methodology ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 33
Results and discussion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 36
Current problems the agency faces …………………………………………………………………………………….. 36
Effectiveness of current interventions …………………………………………………………………………………. 38
Provision for future interventions for similar seasons ……………………………………………………………. 40
Recommendations ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 42
Improve communication and coordination with local hospitals………………………………………………. 42
Appeal for qualified volunteers …………………………………………………………………………………………… 43
Employ and gather support from additional paramedics ……………………………………………………….. 43
Establish more units ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 43
Provide enough training to employees and response agencies ………………………………………………. 44
Gather advanced medical equipment and tools ……………………………………………………………………. 44
Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 45
References …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 48
PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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Preparing Saudi Red Crescent for Al-Hajj Season
Disasters usually happen in different setups leading to unwanted results. Today, the
healthcare sector needs to create measures that seek to improve the overall level of
preparedness to natural or other types of disasters that may arise in the course of operations.
While numerous agencies have been created to cater to the rising needs of the communities,
gaps that affect the health outcomes of the underlying populations exist. In this case, the vital
elements that must be considered in the course of operations are sensitizing the general public
and health practitioners about the possible dangers certain events bring to the community.
For instance, in certain areas across the globe, preparing for disasters has been a
significant problem for both government and health practitioners (Al Thobaity, Plummer,
Innes & Copnell, 2015). The creation of a reliable approach for the achievement of the desired
outcomes depends on the level of preparedness the respective parties exhibit. However, some
of the incidents repeatedly occur in the future within a given location. There is an increasing
need for the overall Saudi Red Crescent Authority to implement interventions that will help
address the issues surrounding the event (Al Thobaity, Plummer, Innes & Copnell, 2015). On
an annual basis, many pilgrims lose their lives as they attempt to travel to Mecca for such
occasions. This affects the place leaving it unconducive for human life.
With more than 2 million people traveling to Mecca, calls for the urgent need to
implement significant inventions that will assist solve the impending issues are necessary.
Planning and preparations remain a core strategy in addressing the existing challenges. Most
of the nations lack proper disaster management and contingency plans essential for managing
and mitigating disasters. For example, the great gathering that happens during the Al-Hajj
PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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season brings millions of people worldwide to attend this religious practice. It usually
involves people from diverse parts of the world. The mass gathering brings about various
health and safety issues (Al Thobaity, Plummer, Innes & Copnell, 2015). Therefore, the Saudi
Arabian government and the health care organizations need to come up with proper
emergency preparations and management of disaster to successfully provide adequate services
to the pilgrims.
When adverse incidents happen, there is increased human suffering. For instance, the
famous Al-Hajj season involving millions of Muslims occurs each year. With an increased
population, health incidences are likely to happen. Due to limited resources caused by the
additional population, both the aliens and locals end up suffering (Manoochehry & Rasouli,
2017). Over the years, numerous measures have been put in place to overcome the problems
which the attendants face. However, regardless of the implementation of such actions each
year, similar occurrences continue to happen, resulting in adverse health outcomes. It is
essential to create measures that provide the ultimate foundation for handling the associated
problems witnessed over the years. Some of the issues reported over time include outbreaks of
certain illnesses, terrorism, and other non-clinical incidents (Ganjeh & Einollahi, 2016).
Preparing for the occurrence of these incidents plays a crucial role in the reduction of
potential avenues for similar problems in the future.
This research will evaluate the issues that the Saudi Red Crescent Authority undergoes
as they attempt to prepare for emergency services (Al Thobaity, Plummer, Innes & Copnell,
2015). One of the challenges presented is the inability to ensure that the pilgrims are at a
given location at the right time. The most significant ones remain essential to improve
PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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findings and increase scientifically sound research. As such, the study will use the qualitative
methodology to gather information concerning the issues involved.
The government and the agency need to focus more on employing more trained health
and medical professionals with the ability and knowledge to tackle any rise of an unknown
disease outbreak. There is a need to address the issue of disease outbreak as it remains to be
the biggest problem facing the SRCA agency. Increasing the knowledge concerning the risks
involved will help them to have a better glimpse of the situation, as such, be able to respond
quickly and promptly for adequate health services.
The agency requires more emergency facilities and tools to carter to the needs. The
visitors coming from other countries do not receive clinical assessments and vaccines that will
help them not to spread diseases among other people. The agency needs to implement more
facilities and equipment. Such will include more emergency rooms, helicopters for
transportation, health professional and researchers, medicine, and improving the
environmental conditions surrounding the place. Due to congestion, it is difficult to gain
access to the people affected by various disasters such as diseases, explosion, fire, and any
other form of life-threatening occurrences.
Based on the analysis of the potential weaknesses in which the plans have been put in
place, health practitioners and the general community may stand in a better position to
overcome these challenges. The inclusion of additional resources and seeking to achieve
maximum and strategic coordination of stakeholders may reduce the chances of calamities
(Alraga, 2017). The paper starts by focusing on the foundation of the problem. The second
section addresses a brief analysis of the past occurrences and associated measures put across
PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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to overcome similar challenges. The third part discusses the results obtained throughout the
review. The last section describes the recommendations which the Saudi Red Crescent
Authority needs to implement to overcome the problems witnessed in this context.
Background of the problem
It is recorded that over 75,000 deaths occur annually due to accusations and mass
gatherings such as the Al-Hajj season. The rate of occurrence of such disasters has been on
the rise over the years resulting in more deaths, injuries, and destruction of property (Ganjeh
& Einollahi, 2016). These incidents have called for the implementation of the workable
measures. In the long run, they are meant to minimize the rate of occurrence of similar
incidents in the future. Regardless of the implementation of these measures, populations,
especially in high-risk areas, suffer from the consequences of such events. The Al-Hajj season
has been associated with naturally occurring incidents that result significantly in mass deaths,
destruction to property, and increased risks to certain diseases (Fazli, Hedayat, Mortazavi &
Alibeigi, 2012).
Saudi Arabia is among the developed countries experiencing several incidents that
result in massive damage to property and loss of lives. The largest destruction and loss of
lives that happen get recorded during the Haji pilgrimage. During this time, the region
welcomes and houses over 3 million visitors and residents who are driven by religious
backgrounds. The pilgrimage occurs around Mecca within the Western province region. Hajj
is one of the most significant mass gathering events which happen in the area and across the
globe. Regardless of the level of preparedness exhibited, the pilgrimage presents massive
dangers and incidents that undermine the health and security of the attendants and the
PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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surrounding communities (Shujaa & Alhamid, 2015). One of the risks associated with such
events is overcrowding.
Usually, the Islamic lunar calendar differs from the Gregorian one; as such, the Hajj is
expected to occur at a specific time about the previous events. Numerous catastrophic
incidents have been reported over the years when it comes to the Hajj event. During this
season, large populations come together to observe their respective religious rites. During this
time, the relevant authorities need to create a platform for promoting the safety and comfort of
the pilgrims (Al Thobaity, Plummer, Innes & Copnell, 2015). The local and national
authorities have the responsibility to the creation of room and avenues for distributing cold
water, prevention of diseases, and attendance to the needy in case of an emergency.
However, over the years, regardless of these measures, several incidents have been
reported. It then follows that there is a need for the participants in the region to create a
platform for improving the overall level of preparedness. It is fundamental to respond to the
incidences. One of the significant issues witnessed is limited knowledge about the best ways
to minimize the impacts of the episodes (Shujaa & Alhamid, 2015). Also, there is insufficient
coordination and communication amongst the various agencies which deal with disaster
planning and management practices.
When it comes to handling and managing the Hajj incidents that may arise in the
course of operations, effective measures should be implemented to ensure it doesn’t occur.
The following section defines the most common health stakeholders who are involved in the
coordination and management of the pilgrims during the event. They play a crucial role in the
definition of the ultimate platform for responding to the occurring incidents amongst the
PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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underlying populations. Also, these stakeholders engage in activities that seek to provide the
ultimate solutions to the arising conflicts and needs of the pilgrims from a health dimension.
Health systems at Saudi Arabia
One of the ways used in the management of the resulting incidents is the creation of a
platform for responding to the accidents and needs which the pilgrims may exhibit. The
response tasks as far as emergency management are left and performed by the respective
health and governmental agencies (Ganjeh & Einollahi, 2016). There have been current
interventions put in place by the Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) to ensure that all the
pilgrims are safe and have received adequate health services. With such a large mass of
gathering, there is a crucial need for the responsible agency to become more vigilant in
developing interventions that will help solve these current issues. Based on the collected
information on the participants, it reveals that there is a need to improve and update the
existing systems of emergency management systems and technology for communication.
Therefore, the SRCA has not been left behind in finding possible solutions to these challenges
for better outcomes when pilgrims come to visit Mecca for Hajj events and religious practices.
From analyzing the past challenges facing the agency, I believe that the current
interventions have been somehow effective. They meet the needs of present challenges
confronting pilgrims and health agencies at Mecca in the Hajj celebrations (Al Thobaity,
Plummer, Innes & Copnell, 2015). With more than 2.3 million attendants to the Hajj
celebration yearly, cases that need medical linked evidence are many. This makes justification
for the efforts to eradicate, mitigate, and prevent extreme medical conditions. The
PREPARING SAUDI RED CRESCENT FOR AL HAJJ SEASON
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government, through the Ministry of Health, has implemented measures that seek to increase
the level of services and assets required to respond to the underlying needs of the pilgrims.
Major players
This section defines some of the major players in the health sector in Saudi Arabia.
The importance of these parties is evident in the effort to respond to the arising incidents. It is
worth noting that each of these parties plays a crucial role in creating measures for reducing
the chances of occurrence of particular events from a health dimension.
Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health acts as one of the resources and significant stakeholders in the
country, which creates, implements, and monitors the issues occurring in the region that may
affect the annual Mecca event. The ministry got established in 1950. Its creation aimed to
develop a platform that improved the health levels of the community. Today, the department
engage …
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