One of the Nigerian women (name withheld) who travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj rituals this year gave birth in Makkah.
The pilgrim, who was seven months pregnant, was admitted to one of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) clinics in Makkah, where she was helped to deliver the baby by a Nigeria medical team.
Dr Usman Galadima, the head of NAHCON’s medical team, revealed this yesterday in Makkah while speaking with members of the national media team covering the ongoing 2023 Hajj operations.
According to Dr Galadima, pregnant pilgrims ignored the advice that pregnant women should not perform Hajj.
In Makkah we have established three clinics and we planned to have up to seven clinics as more pilgrims come in.
We see different cases rising from malaria, cough, sore throat and so on. We were also managing chronic illness like diabetics and others. Many of the pilgrims do not come with their drugs despite our efforts to let them know that they can come with their medications. But I understand that these medications were confiscated from them at the Nigerian border and this is wrong because a traveler should be able to travel with his medication if it is a prescription medication.
We also have cases of women with advanced pregnancy, one of them was about seven months pregnant, she had to be admitted and delivered of the baby. We had to take the others to the Women Hospital in Makkah for admission for urgent care. “So, despite our cautionary calls against pregnant women coming into the Kingdom and this is because with the high physical exhaustion, the tendency to have complications associated with pregnancy increases and it is advised that pregnant women should not come for Hajj, but we see so many cases of pregnant women coming for this Hajj, Dr Galadima said.
According to Galadima, 300 patients visit NAHCON clinics on a daily basis for various reasons. “We are now seeing up to 300 patients per day at the Masala clinic.” We have been attempting to educate our patients on the precautions they should take while in Makkah. For example, in Makkah, the temperature can reach 47°C per day, and pilgrims’ accommodations are 3 to 4 kilometres from Haram, creating a situation in which pilgrims make it mandatory to visit Haram to pray five times per day.
As a result, they walk an average of 7 to 8 kilometres per day. That is physically demanding, and it improves mobility, particularly among the elderly.
“We advised them against such physical risks to Haram, and if they must go, they should use umbrellas, light clothing, avoid walking in the sun, and bring plenty of water.” We also advised them to get enough rest and to avoid eating from street vendors.”
According to him, this has exposed some of the patients to high risks and, ultimately, admission and referrals to Saudi hospitals, as their sugar and blood pressure levels have reached crisis levels in some of them.