Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is attended by approximately 3 million Muslims from around the world each year.
Umrah, sometimes referred to as the ‘lesser’ or ‘minor’ pilgrimage, consists of carrying out a set of rites in the precinct of Masjid al Haram in Mecca.1 Umrah can be carried out at any time of the year.2,3
As with all mass gatherings of this type, Hajj and Umrah are associated with unique health risks. Therefore, it is important that you help your patients prepare for this physically demanding task.3
Run a full health risk assessment with your patients
Many of your patients planning to attend Hajj might also be planning other activities, such as meeting or visiting friends and family before or after the pilgrimage.
By asking the right questions and running a full risk assessment, you can provide your patients with tailored travel health recommendations for their pilgrimage and potential visits to their family and friends.
Here are a few ways you could start a conversation with your patients:
Ask your patients where they are travelling to
Check if they are stopping by other countries before or after their pilgrimage
Check for up to date information about Hajj, Umrah and travel recommendations on the National Travel Health Network and Centre NaTHNaC3
Raise awareness about travel health related risks
When planning for Hajj or Umrah, some patients may already be familiar with these areas and countries, meaning that they might have a reduced perception of the health risks involved. If you want to perform Hajj, you must book a package through the official Nusuk Hajj Platform.4
Each year the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia releases important information about the health requirements for travellers embarking on Hajj or Umrah, including required vaccinations.
Whether your patients are embarking on Hajj, Umrah or simply meeting or visiting their friends and family abroad, you can help them stay healthy during their travels by informing them about some preventative measures before and after their travels.
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Hajj & Umrah Planner. Umrah: Introduction. Available at https://hajjumrahplanner.com/umrah/ (Accessed May 2023).
Dr O. Ayoub. 3 Important Umrah Rituals For Muslim Pilgrims Visiting Makkah. Available at: https://zamzam.com/blog/umrah-rituals (Accessed May 2023)
NaTHNAc. Hajj and Umrah. Available at: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/19/hajj-and-umrah (Accessed May 2023)
UK Government Foreign Travel Advice. Saudi Arabia. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/saudi-arabia/pilgrimage (Accessed May 2023).
Date of preparation: May 2023