NAHCON screens national medical team, releases guidelines


The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has inaugurated the principal officers of the National Medical Team for this year’s Hajj.

The officers are saddled with the responsibility of selecting of qualified medical personnel ahead the 2022 Hajj operations.

NAHCON Chairman, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, inaugurated the 15-man team in the commission boardroom, followed by screening and orientation of eligible applicants for the 2022 National Medical Team (NMT).

NAHCON’s Commissioner for Planning, Research, Statistics, and Library Studies (PRSLS), Sheikh Suleiman Momoh, will head the NMT as chairman, while Pharmacist Zainab Ujudud Sheriff is the team’s Coordinator.

During the opening ceremony of the screening, Hassan congratulated the shortlisted candidates and tasked those that will be successful to distinguish themselves in the discharge of their responsibilities.

Sheikh Momoh, in his welcome address assured the prospective NMT members of the Commission’s commitment to the success of the team.

He therefore, enjoined them to make NAHCON and Nigeria proud as one of the best medical teams in this Hajj season. Speaking during the occasion, Pharmacist Sheriff also congratulated the members for being among the privileged few that would be selected for the Hajj exercise and therefore urged them to deliver quality service to the pilgrims. She called for teamwork among all members, reminding them that the Commission shall not compromise on discipline. Sheriff also urged them to be governed by their medical professional oath. Meanwhile, as part of COVID-19 preventive measures and health protocols for the hajj period, the Saudi Ministry of Health, through its Nigerian embassy in Abuja released health requirements and guidelines for the 2022 Hajj.

In the guidelines, the Health Ministry instructed the compulsory use of facemasks whether indoors or outdoors in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj period. It also mandates foreign pilgrims to pay for Health Insurance that covers the cost of COVID-19 treatment while in the Kingdom.

Apart from exempting persons over 65 years from performing the Hajj, high-risk pilgrims, categorised as those with severe ailments such as active cancer or organ impairment, will also be restricted from participating in the exercise.

Equally, the guideline mandates completion of basic immunisation programs before arrival into the Kingdom. These immunisations include COVID-19 vaccination, yellow fever inoculation and meningococcal meningitis vaccination received not less than 10 days to arrival in the Kingdom with its certificate indicating the date of immunisation.

Furthermore, the ministry requests evidence of poliomyelitis vaccine shot administered not less than four weeks prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia and not over 12 months ago. Notwithstanding the polio vaccination evidence, travelers from countries with known cases of wild polio would be administered with one dose of bOPV at the entry point (the droplets Nigerians usually receive upon arrival in Saudi Arabia).

In addition to presentation of a COVID-19 negative test result done 72 hours before arrival into the Kingdom, the medical team is required to provide isolation centres in Nigeria’s local clinics.

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