Assessment of Knowledge, attitudes and practices concerning travel health among Hajj pilgrims (1439 H- 2018 G) at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in AL-Madina, Saudi Arabia
BackgroundThe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) hosts the Hajj pilgrimage, the largest annual mass gathering in the world. The Ministry of Health (MoH) of KSA issues requirements and recommendations for entry visas relevant to travelers visiting KSA during Hajj. These recommendations include vaccinations, health checks, and specific immunizations either at or prior to entry into KSA. We assessed Hajj pilgrims' knowledge, attitude and practices regarding preventive, curative, hygienic and health
... enic and health promoting measures. Methods We administered a questionnaire to a cross-section of Hajj pilgrims(2018 G)traveling through Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Al-Madina, KSA. Variables collected included demographics, Hajj health preparations, and knowledge and attitudes towards travel-related health behaviors. Results Of 101 respondents, 20% were Saudi and 64%were male. Regarding travel profile, 75% were attending hajj for the first time. About half (52%) stayed in KSA for more than 2 weeks. Knowledge regarding travel heath of respondents was high: 82% scored as excellent and 11% scored as good. Positive attitude toward travel medicine was reported by 60% of participants; 56% of them sought pre-travel advice. Regarding health protection behaviors, 79%reported using protective measures against respiratory infections, 70%for insects, 95%for food and waterborne Diseases, 99%against heat-related conditions and 100%for injuries.Conclusion We found that less than half of participants obtained pre-travel advice, despite the health requirements for obtaining Hajj visas and the known health risks associated with attending Hajj. We identified a need for continued education and promotion of health prevention measures to ensure that Hajj pilgrims are able to have a safe and healthy experience in the Kingdom. This study may be a tool for a purposeful political will to empower countries to set up Hajj health programmes, which would be of great benefit and would go a long way to decrease mortality and morbidity, and associated burdens during Hajj.