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Mon 4 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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UAE sterilisation laws under spotlight

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are lagging behind international standards when it comes to sterilisation regulations, a local dentist has claimed.

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are lagging behind international standards when it comes to sterilisation regulations, a local dentist has claimed.

In the absence of international bodies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Dr Leila Hariri, Jumeira Beach Dental Center, has queried whether sterilisation is adequately policed in the UAE.

"I don't think sterilisation here is up to par because we don't have OSHA, like we do in the States," she said.

Hariri admitted that the procedure to obtain a licence to practice in the UAE was very thorough, but felt that regulations for dentists already in practice could be reviewed.

"In the US they can come into your clinic at any time and you have to be on top of things - here you don't have this," she noted. "They don't ask how things are done, how things are sterilised or really look closely at your patient management.

"I think the Department of Health needs to be more involved in this type of regulatory procedures."

Dr Michael Ziegler, general dentist at The Advanced Dental Clinic, Abu Dhabi, denied the need for tighter regulations.

Ziegler said the clinic followed strict sterilisation procedures, but argued the presence of international regulatory bodies would only increase the substantial red tape facing UAE dentists.

"The last thing that I would want over here is OSHA," he said. "Yes, they are making sure that people are doings things correct, but they are a big handful too - at least that's what I am hearing from a lot of the American dentists I am speaking to."

Dr Amer, general dentist and founder of The Dental Spa, claimed that the inspection standards he had encountered in Dubai were easily comparable to OSHA's.

"Personally, I would completely disagree," he stated. "We have regular inspections here and the teams go through all the nitty-gritty of the practice. And they are highly trained for what they are investigating - they cover all the details that they would go through everywhere else."

Amer said that his clinic still followed OSHA's guidelines, but felt that, if anything, local regulations were more robust than North American standards.

"The regulatory bodies come and check us on an extremely regular basis about everything," he said. "Even the quality of the air and the quality of the water that we use - what kind of equipment, we buy, what kind of storage space we use, they go into every little thing."

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