By Andy Sambidge
Hospital rankings, e-health systems to be introduced alongside plans to tackle obesity, cancer
The UAE's Cabinet on Monday approved a raft of measures to improve the country's health sector including a system to evaluate hospitals and health clinics and measure customer satisfaction.
The extraordinary ministerial retreat on Sir Bani Yas Island also backed plans to introduce an e-healthcare programme to deliver primary health care services to remote regions, especially to elderly people.
The Cabinet also approved a package of measures to address obesity and promote healthy lifestyles, which includes limiting the size of fizzy drinks, and imposing controls on advertisement of unhealthy foods.
Other initiatives approved by senior government officials included a comprehensive screening programme for every UAE citizen in a bid to enhance disease prevention and launching an early cancer detection programme, news agency WAM reported.
Health chiefs will also establish a national database for medical records to allow easy referral of patients between government and private hospitals.
In his concluding remarks to the two-day ministerial retreat, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE's PM and vice-president, said: "The health of our citizens cannot be measured by any cost and treatment anywhere is a vested right for them."
He added that the government had drawn inspiration from the thousands of ideas and suggestions put forward by the public prior to the Cabinet retreat.
"It is our duty all to accelerate the pace of development and progress. With every day that passes, the government will be better than before because the source of new innovation and ideas, whether from citizens, employees or specialists, will never deplete and this is one of principles of action of our government."
The delivery of better medical services was a joint task for the federal and local governments and the private sector, he said.
Other health initiatives which received backing included standardising benchmarks of accrediting doctors and healthcare professionals, setting a strategy for establishing research centres in partnership with academic institutions, establishing a national cancer registry and launching a programme to attract more Emiratis to the nursing profession.
Great initiative, but the health of the expatriates must also be closely monitored. Any medical test and screening program that will timely detect infectious diseases is highly commendable and praiseworthy but the fact is that carrying out a medical test once every 3 years does no good to the infected and society at large. For instance, Gay related Fecal-Oral transmission diseases, Hepatitis, HPV (Human Papillomavirus), Gay Bowel Syndrome and HIV that causes the deadly AIDS has become an uncontrollable PANDEMIC and the Ministry of Health must formulate some effective screening measures to protect society from such deadly diseases by screening the expatriates for infectious diseases annually instead once every three years.
Please educate the public at large to stay away from oily food, fast food and junk food without losing sight on educating and protecting the public from Tuberculosis, Aids, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Influenza etc.
Every nation must make efforts to prevent the entry of infectious disease, we all remember during the recent flu pandemic many countries tried to delay the pandemic flus arrival through border closings and travel restrictions. The same goes with infectious diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, fecal-oral transmission diseases etc which are lethal diseases that must be detected as soon as possible not after three years. Education should play a big role in highlighting the deadly risks attached to Homosexuality and its related long list of diseases such as HPV (Human Papillomavirus), Gay Bowel Syndrome, Hepatitis, HIV, STDs, etc.
As a consequence of changes in society's behavior, technology, and the environment, pathogens evolve or spread, and the spectrum of infectious diseases expands. Emerging infections, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), illustrate that no nation can be complacent regarding human vulnerability to microorganisms in the environment. The ability to detect diseases depends on the capacity to identify and track both the routine and the unusual. Like radar or â€œearly warningâ€ systems that detect threats to national security, surveillance with appropriate laboratory support is a critical element in the effective defense against these diseases. Regular/Annual medical screening are the most important tools for determining which infectious diseases are emerging or receding among a society that consist over 80% of foreigners from different cultural backgrounds and behaviors.
Some Factors that contribute to the emergence of infectious diseases are :
1) Societal events such as Economic impoverishment; war or civil conflict; population growth and migration; urban decay
2) Health Care such as organ or tissue transplantation; drugs causing immunosuppression; widespread use of antibiotics
3) Food production Globalization of food supplies such as changes in food processing, packaging, and preparation
4)Human behavior such as Homosexuality; drug use; travel; diet; outdoor recreation; use of day care facilities
5) Public Health Infrastructure such as Curtailment or reduction of prevention programs; inadequate communicable disease surveillance; lack of trained personnel (e.g., epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, and vector and rodent control specialists)
6) Microbial adaptation and change such as Changes in virulence and toxin production; development of drug resistance; microbes as cofactors in chronic diseases.