Saudi Arabia provided over 1,000 free health services for pilgrims during Hajj

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Saudi Arabia provided over 1,000 different health services free of charge for Hajj pilgrims in Mecca and Medina during the first week of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah (August 2-8), the Saudi Ministry of Health announced on Saturday.

Doctors performed 93 endoscopies, 468 open-heart surgeries and cardiac catheterizations, 536 various surgeries, and 1,491 dialysis sessions.

Every Hajj season, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health implements the “Save a Life” program, which offers free health services including open-heart surgery, cardiac catheterization, and even childbirth.

Nearly 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world stayed overnight in Muzdalifah on Saturday after gathering at Mount Arafat as part of Hajj.

The five-day Hajj pilgrimage is a requirement for all Muslims to perform once in their lifetime, if they are financially and physically able to.

This year, new digital medical services were implemented, which allowed specialized doctors from Riyadh and Jeddah to connect with patients who were in Mina and Mecca performing the pilgrimage, Dr. Ahmad Balkhair, the deputy minister for eHealth and digital transformation, told Al Arabiya English from Mina Emergency Hospital.

The robots are connected to 4G technology and allowed specialized doctors such as oncologists and cardiologists to provide remote assistance to patients on site in one of the 16 major hospitals serving pilgrims in the sacred sites of Mina, Muzdaliffa, and Arafat.

“We have the ability to now consult any Ministry of Health consultant from all over the Kingdom to be immediately within the hospitals. He can roam within the hospitals, go to any department or any bed and give the consultation directly,” Dr. Balkhair said.

In July, the ministry announced that eight laboratories and eight blood banks with “cutting-edge equipment operated by Saudi physicians and specialists” would be set up in Mina and Arafat to provide emergency tests and medical supplies for pilgrims.

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