By Ibrahim Abdullahi, Mecca
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has debunked rumours that there was a cholera outbreak at one of the Kano State pilgrim Houses in Mecca
The NAHCON’s Head of the Medical Team, Dr. Usman Galadima, made the disclosure today in Mecca, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Galadima pointed out that it was rather an acute food poising that affected some pilgrims as a result of unhygienic food they patronized from local food vendors, called Takaru.
He said a temporary surveillance clinic was opened at the house when about nine pilgrims suffered from mostly diarrhea which medical checks and investigations confirmed to be food poison from a local delicacy, Dambu.
He further explained that since last night (Saturday), when the medical team moved in to handle the situation, the pilgrims affected have stabilized, discharged, and no further complications, neither from the first set of patients nor any other pilgrim in the house.
He lamented that with all the advice given to pilgrims to desist from patronizing such unauthorized food, the pieces of advice fell on deaf ears.
“Pilgrims claimed that it was the only delicacy they yearn for that meets their satisfaction and taste. Some stated that it was the meal they could afford now having exhausted their Basic Travel Allowance (BTA).” According to Dr. Galadima.
It could be recalled that during a media chat on Saturday evening at the Headquarters of NAHCON, the Commissioner, Planning, Research, Statistics, Information, and Library Services of the Commission, Sheikh Sulaiman Momoh, admonished pilgrims to be conscious of what they eat in order to avoid food-related illnesses.
However, findings show that at times like this it is almost practically difficult to prevent pilgrims from patronizing such unauthorized local food vendors as most of them have exhausted almost all their BTA on unnecessary expenditures.
It is also discovered that the authority’s feeding arrangement in the Holly Land covers only breakfast and dinner, therefore pilgrims resorted to such unauthorized food almost every operation year.
There is an urgent need for the Saudi Authorities and NAHCON to consider the possibility of giving the pilgrims three meals a day; breakfast, lunch, and dinner as the handful step to prevent local food vendors from displaying their unhygienic food that poises serious havoc to our pilgrims.