Dubai health staff to get mandatory medical checks

Policy is to reduce the spread of infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis and syphilis
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Shane McGinley
Tue 18 Sep 2012 06:31 PM

Dubai has introduced mandatory medical screening for all healthcare workers in a bid to eliminate the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, pulmonary tuberculosis, chickenpox and syphilis, officials have announced.

The new move was announced by the Dubai Health Policy and Strategy Sector (HPSS) who said the policy would be mandatory for all healthcare workers in the Emirate of Dubai.

"The policy is in line with one of the objectives of the Dubai Health Sector 2011-2013, which highlights the importance of implementing measures that will help reduce the burden of communicable diseases in the Emirate,” said Laila Al Jassmi, CEO of health policy and strategy sector at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

“The application of this policy ensures effective steps are taken to maintain the health of healthcare workers and it will also enhance patient safety… Mandatory screening will also ensure early diagnosis and this is particularly important for some fatal diseases, as early screening will help save the lives of these workers or at least prolong their lives," she added.

Under the policy, staff will be screened every three years for HIV, hepatitis B and C, pulmonary tuberculosis, chickenpox and syphilis.

Dr Wasif Alam, director of the public health and safety department, also said it was vital all HCWs ensured they are immunized against diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal, tetanus, hepatitis A, herpes zooster, meningococcal and HPV.

The percentage of adult vaccination has always been low globally, but Dr Alam said this could be because of a lack of mandatory regulations.

"If we implement compulsory vaccination for all high risk groups in Dubai, raise awareness about the importance of vaccinations and personal hygiene like hand washing, we can make a difference and curb the number of people who develop communicable diseases," he added.

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