The National Hajj and Umrah (Health & Safety) awareness week was launched yesterday at the House of Lords by the Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH). The purpose of this national event was to raise awareness of the health & safety issues amongst the 25,000 prospective British pilgrims who will start travelling soon to join over 2 million other pilgrims in Makkah to perform Hajj. Members of the House of Lords, Members of the House of Parliament, Government officials and community dignitaries were present to support this prestigious launch event.
In his welcoming remarks at the launch Lord Ahmed of Rotherham said, “by launching this awareness week will enhance Hajj related health & safety awareness amongst British pilgrims. It is important that pilgrims must be aware of all aspects of Hajj to enable them to perform a safe Hajj”. He also praised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for making the best facilitates available for pilgrims.
Lord Phil Hunt (Deputy Leader, Labour) praised the hard work and continuous efforts made by the ABH to help and protect the British Hajj pilgrims from hardship and difficulties and he assured his full support towards this noble and humanitarian cause.
Baroness Uddin, Member of House of Lords and Rushanara Ali, MP of East London also stressed the importance of the awareness of health & safety and other issues related to hajj amongst pilgrims and urged the relevant government departments to provide help and assistance to the prospective British pilgrims specifically during Hajj in Makkah.
Abdulrahman D. Al-Anexi, representative from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia (London) said that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will make every effort to provide and improve the services to the Hajj pilgrims to ensure that they perform Hajj in comfort and ease.”
Senior doctors from ABH Dr. Syed Raza Hussain and Dr. Rashid Bhatti strongly urged the prospective pilgrims to safeguard against infectious diseases. They emphasised that pilgrims are at great risk of infectious diseases such as Meningitis, Hepatitis, Influenza and Typhoid etc due to crowded conditions at ceremonies, accommodation sites and public transports. Therefore, it is extremely vital that all prospective pilgrims must get vaccinated, specifically against Meningitis, before travelling. And, if they suffer from any ailment such as a heart or chest condition, high blood pressure or diabetes then they must tell their doctor about their intention to undertake this journey and seek advice as to how they can reduce the chances of becoming ill during the pilgrimage.
“The tragic accidents that took place during Hajj pilgrimage in recent years and the outbreak of infectious diseases where a substantial number of British pilgrims lost their lives caused a great amount of grief and distress to the British Muslim community. The Association of British Hujjaj (Pilgrims) UK (ABH) the National Hajj specific organisation is organising high profile publicity campaign through press and electronic media, and also organising seminars and educational training programs to raise awareness of pre-travel Health & Safety issues amongst prospective Hajj pilgrims to protect them from hardship and difficulties and prevent loss of innocent human lives”, said Khalid Pervez, General Secretary of Association of British Hujjaj.