Background: The annual religious ritual of Arba’een is the global largest mass gathering of pilgrims from different countries participating in a mass movement on an 80-km pathway to visit the Shrine of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. The provision of health care for such a mass movement has always been an important vital issue for the health care system.
Objectives: The current study investigated the common illnesses in addition to the quantity of health care services offered by temporary clinics and health stations located on the way to the shrine to such a mass gathering of on-feet pilgrims in Iraq in Arba’een 2019.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at temporary clinics and health stations where pilgrims in need of nursing, midwifery, and pharmaceutical care were provided with services by general and expert physicians on the way from Najaf to Karbala in Iraq during a week in October 2019.
Results: Imam Reza Temporary Clinic offered services to a total of 26,875 patients, including 9,934 females (36.96%) and 16,941 males (63.04%), on all days of the week. The most common chief complaint reported by the patients were musculoskeletal problems (n=11,945; 21.99%), foot blisters (n=11,372; 20.94%), and skin lesions (n=10,662; 19.62%).
Conclusions: The present study highlighted the need for providing more organized services, especially in emergency health care, and necessity of paying further and closer attention to the significance of the health history of those pilgrims attending such religious mass gatherings in previous years.
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