Centre asks states to depute Muslim doctors on Haj pilgrimage duty

Every year several Indians visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for the holy Haj pilgrimage, with the allotted quota for India this year being 175,025 pilgrims.

Priyanka Sharma
First Published28 Mar 2023
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia (REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra)

The Union government has directed states/UTs and medical colleges to depute male and female Muslim doctors, dentists and paramedics working in government hospitals for monitoring the health of Haj Pilgrims.

Every year several Indians visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for the holy Haj pilgrimage, with the allotted quota for India this year being 175,025 pilgrims.

Apart from prior medical screening of the pilgrims before they embark on the journey, pilgrims will also be provided healthcare in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in health facilities along the pilgrimage route. These health facilities would be manned by Indian doctors and paramedics.

“This year, after due deliberations with the ministry of minority affairs, certain responsibilities have been assigned to this ministry. Therefore, the ministry of health seeks your support and cooperation to ensure a safe, hassle-free and seamless Haj pilgrimage within minimal health challenges. Apart from prior medical screening and examination of the pilgrims before they embark on the journey, pilgrims will also be provided healthcare in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in health facilities along the pilgrimage route. These health facilities would be manned by doctors and paramedics working in the state/UT government health facilities, medical and dental colleges and in the institutes of the MoHFW. The period of deputation will be approx. 2-3 months tentatively from mid of May to mid of August 2023,” Rajesh Bhushan, union health secretary communication in a letter to the states/UTs seen by Mint.

Queries sent to the health ministry spokesperson did not respond till press time.

The centre has directed larger states/UTs to nominate 10-20 male and female doctors and paramedics respectively (Muslim) including a few dentists while smaller states have been asked for 5 male and female doctors and paramedics each. The ministry of health will conduct the actual assessment of the nominations based on experience, specialization and desirable qualification. However, the preference would be given to those who had not gone for this duty in the past. The government will also conduct the workshop and capacity building training program before their departure from India.

The services of the deputationists will be at the disposal of the Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah during their deputation and they will be deployed by CGI, Jeddah for rendering appropriate medical services to the pilgrims at various Hospitals and Branch Dispensaries in Makkah, Madinah, Haj terminal at Jeddah, camps at Mina and Arafat, etc. on a functional basis.

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