How national medial team for 2024 Hajj emerged

The medical needs of over 60,000 Nigerian pilgrims in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be attended to by the National Medical Team (NMT) empanelled by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON)

National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON)

The medical needs of over 60,000 Nigerian pilgrims in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be attended to by the National Medical Team (NMT) empanelled by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
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The airlifting of the intending pilgrims commenced on Wednesday in Birni Kebbi, Kebbi State with the first batch of 422 pilgrims departing to Madinah.
The medical team comprises a total of 140 personnel including Doctors, Pharmacists and Nurses who applied to serve Nigerian pilgrims in the holy land. The figure (140) represented the final selection out of 19,832 applicants.

Detailing what went into the process of the selection, Assistant Director, Public Affairs at the Commission, Fatima Usara, in a release said a dedicated portal for the recruitment of National Medical Team (NMT) was launched on February 12, 2024 to enable public access to interested professionals willing to render service on voluntary basis.  

According to her, “by the end of the registration deadline, 19,832 had applied. Out of this total, only 7,532 scaled the first screening test of submitting duly completed e-forms.

“It would be recalled that at the time of inviting interested candidatesz, the following criteria were clearly spelt out as yardsticks for qualification into the medical team. That: Doctors and Pharmacists should be between the ages of 28 to 60 while nurses and Environmental / Community Health Workers should be between 22 to 60.

“Secondly, applicants must not have participated in the last three NMT operations vis-à-vis, 2019, 2022 and 2023. The only exceptions to this category are principal officers selected to lead the team from the onset as well as few regular members from the past teams who were recognized for excellence. Their selection is automatic. Applicants must be in active service at the time of application; must be ready to work for 28 days and stay in KSA for 45 days.”
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It was further disclosed that “At the end of the exercise, out of the 7532 correctly submitted applications, 1295 applicants were dropped for selecting payment option for their medical services instead of volunteerism as requested, while another five where similarly dropped for failure to indicate their choice of whether volunteerism or for a fee.”

“Another 1,307 applicants were disqualified after indicating that they had participated in the medical team within the last three Hajj seasons. On the other hand, NAHCON’s data revealed another 175 applicants who either concealed the fact of their participation in the previous years or gave false information on that claim. 

“A breakdown showed 37 of them participated in the 2019 NMT, 60 participated in the 2022 medical team and 78 were members of the 2023 National Medical Team. They were eliminated. Another 135 were also eliminated based on age while 43 were rejected for submitting multiple applications. In total, only 4861 eventually scaled the second round of screening.”

Usara said, out of these 4861 successful candidates, only 140 were shortlisted in line with the official medical quota allocated to the country by Saudi Arabia. She added that NAHCON had further supported additional medical personnel among its overall quota to supplement Saudi’s formal allocation. 

The Commission emphaized the NMT is constituted of 60 per cent workforce selected and presented by the various states’ pilgrims’ welfare boards while NAHCON contributes only 40 per cent of the medical staff. 

“To meet its own 40 per cent medical staff support, NAHCON conducts random balloting to select members of the NMT. Thus, by the end of the balloting and collation, out of the 140 that were successfully shortlisted, three more were dropped for failing pregnancy tests, they have since been replaced.”
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“Hence, notification has been sent to successful candidates to serve as members of the 2024 Hajj National Medical Team. The team will be working under three major clinics in Makkah and one in Madinah which is located on Quran street. 

“In Makkah, the Main Office is in Masfala Kudei where most pilgrims are accommodated. The two other major clinics are in Al-Tayseer and Masfala Shari Hijr. Medical personnel are not posted to individual state accommodations because the Saudi authority does not recognize state boards running individual clinics.

“NAHCON thus establishes few outpost stations to decongest the three main clinics. Erecting the outpost stations depends on certain factors that can only be determined while in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

“About 50 per cent of the medical personnel will be provided with portable first aid kits to move around with for timely medical intervention. During the five days of Hajj rites, NAHCON would run one clinic in each of the 15 pilgrims’ field offices in Muna.”

In addition, the Commission will run mobile clinics in Masha’ir while ambulances belonging to state welfare boards shall be deployed to the sites as back-up. Usara underscored that the Commission’s desire to guarantee welfare of pilgrims gave impetus to the exhaustive efforts put in place for success of the Hajj season.
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