As restrictions begin to ease across parts of the UAE, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is now in the process of implementing a new plan to “gradually welcome” patients back to its hospitals and health centres, it has been announced.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the emirate, the DHA had temporarily suspended non-urgent healthcare services to contain the spread of the coronavirus between patients and visitors. Now, the Authority is working on reintroducing regular medical services provided in its outpatient clinics and specialised departments. It will, however, continue to provide telemedicine consultation, it said in a statement.
According to Dr Younis Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Healthcare Corporation at DHA, only 0.6% of active cases of COVID-19 have required intensive care unit (ICU) support so far, with the Authority committed to “continue providing the highest standard of care across its facilities dedicated to COVID-19 cases.”
THE LARGER CONTEXT
As the DHA begins to reintroduce services, private hospitals that have been assisting in treating patients are being phased out of the programme.
At the beginning of the month, Mediclinic City Hospital – one of Mediclinic Middle East’s seven hospitals in the UAE – announced its certification by the Dubai Healthcare City Authority as a “non COVID-19” hospital, after transferring all of its existing inpatients to other facilities. The decision was made in order to focus on providing care for “particularly vulnerable patients, such as cancer sufferers and transplant patients.”
In a statement, Mediclinic Middle East explained: “This decision was made to give patients such as these complete peace of mind. Although COVID-19 may still be identified in patients who visit the Emergency or Outpatient departments, these patients will be triaged, isolated and immediately transferred to other units.
“The Emergency department has two separate pathways; one for patients with respiratory symptoms and a second for trauma and other emergency cases.”
As per the latest figures released by the UAE government, a total of 35,192 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the country so far, out of which 18,338 individuals have made a full recovery. A total of 266 individuals have lost their lives.
Whilst hospitals such as Mediclinic are being given the chance to resume regular services, the DHA is still establishing new isolation facilities. One 25-room unit has been launched in close proximity to the government-owned Rashid Hospital.
Aster DM Healthcare, meanwhile, has unveiled a new 50-bed critical care Aster Hospital in Muhaisnah, which will be used to provide treatment to COVID-19 patients at present.
The DHA is also investing in talent from abroad. The UAE welcomed its third group of medical professionals from India this week to help the DHA in its fight against the coronavirus. The arrival of the 172 doctors and nurses from the Apollo Hospitals Group follows that of 88 medics with Aster DM Healthcare and 105 with VPS Healthcare, confirmed the UAE Ambassador to India, Dr Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna.
ON THE RECORD
“These medical personnel include doctors, nurses, assistant nurses and medical support officers to support the whole effort of the UAE in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They flew in from Chennai to Dubai,” said Dr Al Banna.
Dr Younis Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Healthcare Corporation at DHA added: “This collaboration reflects the deep-rooted relations between the two nations and also highlights the extremely collaborative nature of the global healthcare sector to join hands to tackle this pandemic.
“We are continuing to build capacity as part of our precautionary and proactive measures and we are working with the healthcare authorities in the UAE to ensure we provide the highest standards of care for COVID-19 patients in the country.”