Friday, May 27, 2011

Don’t ‘dump’ documents

24 May 2011, The Gulf Today

SHARJAH: Improper document disposal increases incidents of confidential data and identity theft, pointed out Sharjah’s semi-government environment and waste management authority Bee’ah.

Several types of confidential information are highly vulnerable to abuse by criminals if simply thrown into dustbins, a senior Beea’h official warned on Monday.
Walid Zabaneh, vice president of Business Development and Strategy at Bee’ah, told The Gulf Today that a number of security breaches can be traced back to mishandled, lost or stolen documents.
“UAE authorities are stepping up measures to tackle circumstances leading to information theft including dumpster diving, cheque scams and false identity cases,” added Khalid Al Huraimel, CEO, Bee’ah.
“In some cases, information theft may potentially jeopardise national security and turn out as a contributor to massive financial losses for companies and individuals.”
He advised that all kinds of debris, especially confidential documents and electronic information, should be discarded responsibly and, and if possible in an environmentally friendly way.
The Bee’ah recently linked up with the Sharjah Immigration Department to crack down on waste scavengers in the Emirate in a joint initiative to curb issues related to insecurity of personal information.
“Information including financial data, figures, company records, facts, private statistics and information about clients or projects have to be protectively disposed after use, or you will have to face severe consequences,” pointed out Zabaneh.
“However, no specific local figures are available for public on the increase in identity theft or breach of information security laws, linked to the unsafe disposal of documents.”
Speaking about Bee’ah’s confidential document destruction and recycling project aimed at protecting businesses, Zabaneh stated that determining the link between data breaches and identity theft is challenging, primarily because identity theft victims often do not know how their personal information was obtained.
“In several cases the reason for the data breach and eventual identity theft can be the stack of potentially confidential data disposed with regular trash by the office staff or the tiny credit card receipt, thrown casually in the trash after a shopping trip,” he elaborated.
“The implications of improper destruction of crucial data are the cause of huge losses to businesses and individuals alike,” Zabaneh added.
Introducing its confidential document destruction and recycling service as a safe, secure and environmentally responsible procedure, Bee’ah urges businesses in the UAE to employ properly document disposal procedures to reduce incidents of data theft and security breach.
Zabaneh said, “Waste-scavengers intentionally explore sites, where waste of their target companies are being dumped, in hopes of uncovering important information and selling them to wrong people.”
According to him, business entities should implement a ‘shred-all’ policy for all unwanted documents, on a regular basis, to avoid risks. “Special locked consoles have to be provided to deposit confidential documents, instead of recycling bins.”
“Bee’ah also has a mobile shredding unit with trained operatives to destroy documents on-site. All shredded material is then recycled and on completion a certificate is issued confirming the secure destruction and recycling of documents,” Zabaneh
“Since the launch of the service in 2009, Bee’ah has securely managed to destroy and recycle over 1,000 tonnes of paper which is equivalent to saving 17,000 trees,” he concluded.

15 medical facilities shut, 15 doctors suspended in 2010 for violations

24 May 2011, The Gulf Today

Dubai: About 15 medical establishments have been shut down in the UAE in 2010 by the Ministry of Health (MoH) as these facilities violated the regulations and bylaws, revealed a senior health official on Monday.
“Four of the medical establishments were closed permanently, while 11 of them face temporary closure,” said Dr Amin Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licensing and head of the Medical Licensing Committee at the MoH.
“About 15 doctors were suspended from practice due to cases of medical malpractice last year, and another seven doctors have been issued warning. Meanwhile, eight doctors were temporarily suspended from practice as a precautionary measure for medical negligence or malpractice based on complaints lodged by patients,” he elaborated.
“The ministry blacklisted seven other doctors due to their severe violations of the professional ethics or scientific and technical standards. Warnings were issued against 11 medical establishments after inspections carried out by officials at the medical licensing department,” he added.
According to Dr Amiri, a penalty in the form of a written warning has been issued against another medical establishment.
“The violating doctors were suspended either because of their medical negligence or for disbursing medical sick leaves for patients without checking their right to receive such leaves,” he pointed out.
The [penalties] issued to the medical facilities were based on inspections and decision of the medical licensing committee as they were proved to be violating the set of standards or regulations, said Dr Salem Al Darmaki, acting undersecretary of the MoH.
“A total of 1,140 medical facilities are operating under the supervision of the heath ministry, while about 2,305 doctors have obtained license from the federal authority to practice medical profession in the Emirates,” he added.
Statistics of the MoH’s medical licensing department indicates the significant increase in the number of medical establishments and doctors in 2010, and there is an increasing traffic for more registrations for medical practice and healthcare sector operation.
“The medical licensing department regularly follows up about 1,140 medical establishments and doctors working there to keep ensuring their adherence to the best international health standards, and the country’s regulations,” he added.
“About 163 new establishments have been licensed in 2010, while 70 facilities have been approved since the beginning of the current year,” noted Al Darmaki.
“The approved medical establishments in the private sector include 435 medical centres, 275 rehabilitation centres, 104 public clinics, 94 school health clinics, 92 specialised clinics, 73 public dental clinics, 25 hospitals, 25 diagnosis centres and 19 specialised dental clinics,” he elaborated.
Dr Al Amiri said that about 2,305 doctors have received MoH licenses, out of which 354 have been given in 2010 and 151 since the beginning of 2011.
“About 781 technicians were also licensed by the MoH last year, while the number of licensed technicians in 2011 until the date is 359. There are a total of 2,621 technicians that have been provided licences by the health ministry,” he added.

Sri Lanka to reduce supply of housemaids to Gulf

The Gulf Today, 16 May 2011

Dubai: The Sri Lanka authorities are currently outlining strategies to slowly reduce the number of housemaids dispatched from the island to work in the UAE and other Gulf countries, reveals a top government representative visiting the Emirates to explore opportunities in skilled and semi-skilled Lankan labour supply.
Dilan Perera, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare of Sri Lanka, said that the authorities are unofficially discouraging the citizens to take up housemaid jobs abroad, as the country gradually trains the people for skilled and dignified professional opportunities.
“The title and job description of the domestic workers also have to be upgraded from ‘housemaid’ to ‘housekeeper’ in accordance with training them scientifically. There’s also a long-term term plan for demanding compulsory minimum wage system for the migrant Lankan workforce abroad,” the minister indicated.
“Supplying domestic workers to the foreign job market by ensuring their security and rights as well as welfare and rehabilitation while they return to the island has been raising constant issues which are unresolved often,” Perera pointed out.
Speaking on the sidelines of Sri Lanka Employment Promotion Seminar staged in Dubai on Sunday, the minister noted that Sri Lanka wants to offer more skilled and quality manpower to the UAE and other foreign job markets.
“An innovative mechanism is currently being developed in Sri Lanka to implement job-specific, country-specific and company-specific training programmes for the citizens, who seek foreign opportunities,” he said.
“We are looking at possibilities of backward integration, in building education institutions, in collaboration with Dubai entrepreneurs by offering opportunities to invest in those institutions, which are devoted to producing certified semi-skilled and skilled personnel for the entire specialised Middle East job market,” elaborated Perera.
According to him, Sri Lanka is next to China in the Asian Human Resources Index. It has been building quality human resources and supplying to the other parts of the world for years.
“We are implementing resolving the problems of our migrant manpower and improve their welfare system, by introducing education scholarship to the children of Gulf returnees. Work-related complaints such as employee or agent harassment, physical abuse, health challenges and issues of absconding maids have significantly come down at the Lankan missions in the UAE.”
“Meanwhile, Lankan workers’ complaints are 10 times higher in other Gulf countries. There are only 35 to 40 complaints are registered on an average in the UAE, while some 30 to 40 cases are recorded regarding the absconding housemaids,” Perera said.
Speaking at the seminar, Sarath Wijesinghe, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in the UAE, announced an education project for the working Sri Lankans in the UAE.
“The UAE’s Sri Lankan employees with a minimum of managerial experience are offered a global standard two-year long management education programme through a cost-effective distance learning scheme from Open University of Sri Lanka, under the direct supervision of the mission,” he said.
“The two study centres will be opened one each in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where more professional courses will be introduced later in affiliation with the Open University of UK,” he added.
MM Abdul Raheem, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai and Northern Emirates, said, “Sri Lanka has a literacy rate of 95 per cent, one of the highest in the South Asia. The workforce is easily trainable and could cater to the global demand.”
"The UAE is home to about 2,50,000 migrant Sri Lankan workers, out of which 190,000 expatriates are employed in Dubai and Northern Emirates. A significant majority of them are engaged in domestic helpers in the UAE,” he added.
“The number of Sri Lankan skilled labourers already employed in various sectors in the UAE is clear evidence that Sri Lanka could supply to the need of the international standards,” noted Raheem.

Municipality conducts health tests on 71,609 animals this year

13 May 2011, The Gulf Today 

A record number of animal disease prevention procedures have been conducted in Dubai, with 71,609 animals at various farmhouses and municipal veterinary clinics received treatment and vaccination during the first quarter of the current year.
The animal health protective measures have been carried out aimed at ensuring higher level of safety of livestock protecting them from a range of serious seasonal risks eventually derailing the food security in the emirate, revealed Dubai Municipality (DM).
The Municipality has staged a range of programmes and initiatives to ensure that the animal handlers or traders are adhering to the civic regulations and requirements on animal sheltering.
The civic authority also intensified its inspection procedures on cattle feed shipments and veterinary supplies imported through the emirate's ports during this period, aimed at reducing the number of common animal diseases.
Meanwhile, the number of animal feed shipments imported to the emirate has increased this year compared to the first quarter of the last year, as more companies entered into the market in the wake of the increasing demands for animal feed, a spokesperson of the DM said.
According to him, there has been a significant decrease in the number of animal care law violations compared to the first quarter of last year. "The civic veterinary laboratories conducted about 7,477 tests. Also, about 877 random inspections were carried out in different areas of the emirate."
"Surveys on mycotoxins in cow milk were carried out, taking samples from farms for bacterial tests. The Municipality also monitored different tools used for dairy operations to ensure safety and protect public health," the DM official pointed out.
He elaborated that approximately 1919 cases of stray animals like cats and dogs were reported during this period. "About 42,820 animals were examined before slaughtering at Dubai Abattoirs, while a number of animals were rejected prior to the slaughtering as they were unfit for human consumption."
A significant increase has been recorded in the awareness of workers in livestock farms and dairy sites, the DM spokesperson concluded.
(Pic: Supplied)

‘Immediate action on emergency medicine requirement’

The Gulf Today, 10 May 2011

Dubai: All medical districts in the UAE will be provided with effective mechanism to solve problems of insufficient medicines and other issues on shortage of resources, assures health minister Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim.
Speaking at a meeting with directors of medical districts on Monday, he said that the entire residents in the country will be able to avail the best healthcare services and enjoy global standard medical practices in various specialisations.
“More programmes are in pipeline to encourage Emiratis to work in the healthcare sector, with more continuous medical education (CME) and international training sessions for nursing and midwifery professionals to meet the serious shortage of nationals in these health professions. The MoH recently recruited 35 UAE national nurses in various hospitals,” he explained.
“The entire health facilities in the seven Emirates will be provided with sufficient quantity of medicines, medical and lab equipment. Each medical district has to submit a specific plan for its actual requirement of medicines and equipment, in order to ensure the availability of medicines in these stores,” he added.
“The mechanism will specify the quantities of available medicines in the MoH warehouses as well as at hospitals and health centres, to guarantee availability of medicines, especially for chronic diseases,” elaborated Dr Hassan.
According to him, all practices related to import, purchase and storage of medicines will be regulated. “The new mechanism will monitor the procurement, and disburse of the drugs through continuous supervision measures of the medical stores, pharmacies upon evaluating the medicine purchase orders.”
“Immediate actions will be taken on purchase orders, to meet emergency requirement of medicines. The central stores will send official circulars to the stores, pharmacies and centres in the medical districts to specify a certain timeline for receiving and ensuring the safety and non-manipulation of the medicines,” the minister concluded.

Dubai clinics require special license for immunisation

The Gulf Today, 9 May 2011

DUBAI: Private clinics providing vaccination services in Dubai will now have to obtain a new licence as Vaccine Qualified Clinics (VQCs) from Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
The authority on Sunday has announced its new immunisation policy with comprehensive guidelines to standardise immunisation services at the emirate’s hospitals and clinics, which will be connected to a unified immunisation reporting and recording mechanism.
According to the policy, all healthcare facilities in the emirate will require to fulfill specific requirements if they want to continue providing childhood immunisation services.
A senior health official indicated that parents could now make sure that their children are receiving potent and safe vaccines through the VQCs system. The DHA’s health regulation department will monitor functions at the VQC licensed centres to ensure safe practice and compliance to the new system.
Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, director general of the DHA, said that it’s all about assuring global standards of safety and efficiency and better access for Dubai residents to various immunisation services, with special emphasis on child immunisation programmes.
“Once the new policy is in practice and both the private and the government sectors have been put into the unified system, Dubai can benchmark itself internationally in terms of immunisation services,” he added.
“The immunisation services presently provided by private and government health facilities in Dubai, are inadequately coordinated, even though vaccinations protect the community from several life-threatening diseases,” pointed out Al Murooshid.
All immunisation services in Dubai will be streamlined with the implementation of the policy to improve quality of the services, said Laila Al Jassmi, CEO of Health Policy and Strategy Department at the DHA.
“The unified immunisation policy will cover all hospitals and health clinics in the private, government and free zone segments of the emirate. The authority will monitor the process of administering vaccines at all the licensed facilities,” she added.
Dr Ali Ali Marzooqi, Director of Public Health and Safety at the DHA, said that the system will provide technical guidance to healthcare providers to ensure they follow best practices, in terms of administering and storing vaccines.
“However, meeting the new licence criteria will not be a difficult task for the healthcare facilities, as a majority of them are already fulfilling their licensing conditions to provide these services,” he noted.

'Cardiac disease No.1 killer of women in the world'

By PMA RASHEED The Gulf Today, 6 May 2011

Dubai: A quarter of all deaths in the UAE are caused by cardiovascular diseases (CVD), while globally 35 per cent of women are living with various cardiac disorders, according to a specialist cardiologist in Dubai.
Cardiovascular disease is still considered to be a man's disease, but it causes the death of almost the same number of women too.
Dr Nooshin Bazargani, Specialist Cardiologist at Dubai Hospital and Head of Emirates Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Group (ECDPG), revealed that out of the 17.5 million deaths from cardiovascular disease each year globally, over 8.6 million are women.
"It's more than the total number of women, who die from all cancers, tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS and malaria combined. The CVD is the number one killer of women in the world," she added.
Dr Bazargani was speaking at the second edition of "Go Red for Women" campaign, a global initiative to raise awareness about the risk of CVD among women, organised on Thursday at Deira City Centre in tandem with Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
According to her, most of these cardiovascular deaths could be avoided through awareness on effective change in life. "Their attitude should be modified towards adopting preventive measures on the major risks such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol level, unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle."
Dr Fahad Omar Ahmed S Baslaib, Head of Cardiology at Rashid Hospital and President of Emirates Cardiac Society, indicated that the risk factors for women are largely similar to men, including family history of the CVD, smoking, stress and other major reasons.
"However, some factors play a greater role in women than men. About 22 per cent of the UAE population dies due to cardiac problems. Half of them are women, who are either under-diagnosed or under-treated," he pointed out.
Dr Laila Al Jassmi, CEO of Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA , said that lifestyle diseases can be prevented by following a balanced diet and healthy exercise patterns. "The number of women with the CVD highlights the magnitude of this problem."
Dr Arif Abdullatif Al Mulla, Head of Cardiology at Dubai Hospital, said: "Diabetic women suffer from the risk of chronic heart disease eight times more than non-diabetic women. In diabetic men, the risk is of cardiac disorders is only three times more than non-diabetic men."
"In women, the combination of oral contraception and consumption of up to 15 cigarettes per day is associated with a three to five fold increase in coronary risk, for women who smoke more than 15 cigarettes per day, the risk increases by twenty fold," he added.
"The post-menopausal state uniquely augments the risks of the CVD for women. Depression also increases the risk of the heart attack in women at 70 per cent. As twice as many women as men are depressed, this becomes a major risk factor for the sex," elaborated Dr Al Mulla.
The Gulf Race 1 gender analysis study, which was conducted in 2009 across six Gulf States to compare men and women who are admitted to the hospital with heart attacks, showed that cardiac diseases among locals and expatriates in these countries are equal. Whereas, 80 per cent of heart attack cases among women were of citizens and  expatriate women- 20 per cent.
Dr Bazargani noted the study had indicated that the outcome of the heart attack is more eventful in women than in men.
"This means women with heart attacks have more complications as compared to male patients. Women are more at higher risks of bleeding, heart failure (weakness of the muscle of the heart) and are more at a risk of death," she concluded.