Introduction: Arbaeen Pilgrimage is one of the world’s largest religious gatherings held in Iraq on the occasion of the 40th day of Imam Hussein martyrdom. The identification of the problems and challenges facing the Arbaeen Pilgrimage is of great help in holding this event safer in the future. The present study aimed to review the challenges of health services provided to pilgrims during the Arbaeen Pilgrimage in 2019.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed within one month after the end of this event. The statistical population comprised three million applicants registered by the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization of Iran. Out of this population, 1,200 subjects who had participated in the event were selected using simple random sampling. The needed data were collected using a researcher-made questionnaire containing closed- and open-ended questions. Demographic characteristics, medical records, and subject comments were included in the questionnaire. The researchers contacted the participants and filled out the questionnaire.
Results: The mean age of participants was reported as 41.2±14.1 years, and the majority of them (65.7%) were male. The cold mostly caused the need for medical services. In total, 9.5% of the participants did not receive services, and 90.9% received them from the Iranian Red Crescent Society(IRCS). According to the results, 95.4% of those who received services from the IRCS and 82.4% of those who received services from other service providers were satisfied with medical services.
Conclusion: Iraq’s health system is faced with numerous challenges during the Arbaeen Pilgrimage. These challenges are multiplied due to infrastructural shortcomings in Iraq’s health system, the lack of precise planning, as well as attendees' unpreparedness and unawareness. To obtain pilgrims’ satisfaction and minimize the problems, the authorities of Iraq’s health system should participate, synergize, and provide health equipment and facilities in cooperation with organizations from other countries participating in the Arbaeen Pilgrimage. Comprehensive multi-organizational planning and intra- and extra-organizational coordination before the Arbaeen Pilgrimage and training the pilgrims are two key factors that can help the better organization of this event.
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