By Rob Corder
Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Health opt for information and isolation instead.
Nursery schools in the UAE will not have to close in a bid to stop the swine flu threat after all despite the Ministry of Social Affairs issuing a closure directive on Tuesday.
The instruction, issued via the official government news agency WAM, was for all nursery schools and special needs institutions to be closed as a measure to protect the very young and handicapped from the risk of H1N1 flu.
But at a meeting on Wednesday between Ministry of Health chiefs, the Ministry of Social Affairs and officials from nurseries and special needs centres to discuss a response, it was decided to instead issue advice to cope with cases of H1N1 within nurseries and special needs facilities.
Dr Mona Al Kawari, director of Primary Healthcare Department, Ministry of Health stressed the need for maintaining high levels of cleanliness and sterilisation at these centres. They should also dedicate rooms for isolation.
She called on the administrators and teachers of these educational facilities to keep a close eye on children to detect any suspected cases.
Abdullah Rashid Al Suwedi, director of the Ministry of Social Affairs, stressed the vital importance of laying down protocols and measures against the disease.
“The Ministry is keen on protecting children and disabled persons from the disease,” he said.
Minister of Social Affairs Maryam Al Roumi, who issued the instruction for closures on Tuesday, made no mention of them in the meeting on Wednesday, according to the WAM report.
She instructed that efforts to contain spread of the virus in these nurseries and centres should be maximised and that a protocol for prevention and treatment of the disease be issued to these centres.
According to the minister's directives, employees of these centres will be trained by health authorities to handle suspected cases with H1N1 flu. Special training programme via sign language will be tailored for staff at centres for people with special needs.
Parents of those students will be, “tipped off with detailed information about the disease,” WAM reported