The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, yesterday, disclosed that five Nigerian pilgrims have so far, lost their lives in the holy land of Saudi Arabia.
In a statement in Saudi Arabia, Commissioner in Charge Of Health Matters of NAHCON, Dr. Ibrahim Kana, stated that one of the pilgrims died in Madinah while the other four died in Makkah, as a result of different illnesses.
He noted that four of the dead pilgrims are males with Katsina State recording two deaths — a male and a female; while Sokoto, Nasarawa, and Kano states recorded one each.
Kana stated that the Chairman of NAHCON, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, had already commiserated with the families, pilgrims and state governments of the deceased pilgrims after informing President Muhammadu Buhari of the sad development.
He added that so far, over ten thousand pilgrims have been attended to by the various Nigerian clinics in Makkah and Madinah, with Makkah accounting for about sixty percent of the health cases recorded.
He further stated that there were about one hundred and eight referrals to Saudi Hospitals for a more professional medical attention, due to the serious nature of the illnesses of the patients, saying most of them, however, had been discharged.
He said over 150 million drugs had been dispensed freely to needy pilgrims by the NAHCON Clinics in the two holy cities.
The commissioner also called on pilgrims to strictly abide by health guidelines in view of the unfriendly and harsh weather conditions of the Kingdom.
He further advised pilgrims to avoid loitering in the hot sun, where necessary, use umbrellas, light clothing and drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration, sun and heat-strokes.
In another development, NAHCON’s Head of Medical Team in Madinah, Dr. Hamidu Liman, had stated that a female pilgrim, an elderly woman from Sokoto State, had died in the city of Madinah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Liman said the woman had severe medical issues right from home but got worse when she arrived Saudi Arabia.
Liman noted that the funeral of the deceased was conducted last Friday, after having spent four days in the intensive care unit at Al-Ansar Hospital before she died.
He said, “She was appropriately received at NAHCON’s clinic. As soon as we reviewed her case, we realised that it is something that requires a specialist’s attention. We referred her to Al-Ansar Hospital.
“She was in their Intensive Care Unit for four days before we unfortunately lost her. The appropriate authorities have been informed. Alihamdulillah, the Janaza (funeral rite) was conducted last Friday in Madinah. And she has been buried accordingly. May Allah bless her soul and grant her Aljanatu firdaus. Aameen.”
Liman, who stated that the four clinics established in Madinah for convenience of the pilgrims, had treated over 5,000 patients, stated that the most reported cases were fatigue, body pain, and headache.
He added that some of the patients came occasionally with previous medical problems like hypertension, diabetes, and asthma from Nigeria, while he noted that cases of frank psychiatric illnesses and pathological fracture that could not be handled by the clinics were appropriately referred to Al – Ansar Hospital in Madinah for prompt medical attention.
He added that two persons who had fractures due to accidental fall from slippery floor and another elderly woman from minor domestic accident (pathological fracture) had been treated and discharged.
He said, “These cases are developed here. They fall from slippery floor because our people are not used to tiles. The good thing is that all these cases were appropriately referred to Al-Ansar Hospital.
“They had open reduction and internal fixation. Two have been discharged and they have moved to Makkah. One is going to be discharged today. Then, we take her back to pilgrims’ residence for movement to Makkah.”
He said the four clinics in Madinah had doctors, nurses, pharmacists, appropriate drugs, and five ambulances to cater for the welfare of the pilgrims, adding that states had separate arrangements for the pilgrims’ welfare, noting that most of the states reserve their ambulances for Makkah operations.
He advised intending pilgrims to do exercise regularly right from home and assess the status of their health before embarking on pilgrimage, which he said is a rigorous exercise that requires a lot of movement and trekking.
The latest death brought to two the number of Nigerian pilgrims who had died in Saudi Arabia, as a female Katsina pilgrim had earlier died in her sleep in Makkah last week from myocardial infarction which is secondary to hypertensive heart disease.