BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 13 Sep 2009
The H1N1 influenza dedicated web portal of the UAE Ministry of Health (MoH), has been e-linked with the website of the Ministry of Education (MoE) on Friday, according to a senior health official.
Dr Ali Ahmed Bin Shakar, Director General of the MoH and Chairman of the Technical Health Committee for Combating H1N1, said, "The latest move has been taken to complement the MoH's efforts to provide updated information about the disease on time."
"Such information will be released in a way that employees of the education ministry as well as other educational institutions will be given can access to the database as well as the measures to be taken by the MoH," he added.
According to him, the dedicated portal will also track updates issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The UAE Education Minister Humaid Mohammed Al Qattami on Friday gave directives for all the schools to take H1N1 precautionary measures without sparking fears among students or affecting classes.
"The principals are incharge of carrying out the mission of educating the staff members and students on methods of combating the H1N1 virus outbreak. A daily newsletter also has to be read at all schools at their morning meetings," he said.
"A team led by principal should be formed in each school for overseeing the swine flu precautionary measures. The principals are also responsible for dealing with suspected H1N1 cases as well as implementing hygiene and protection measures," he said.
Meanwhile, the WHO on Friday issued advice on measures to be carried out in schools for reducing the impact of the swine flu pandemic, the state newswire WAM said.
These studies were undertaken by members of a WHO informal network for mathematical modelling of the pandemic.
The WHO's recommendations had been drawn in the wake of schools closure announcement in several countries.
In order to avoid the social, economic and health consequences due to the closure of schools, the WHO has urged students, teachers and other school staffs to stay home, if they feel unwell.
According to the WHO, the main benefit of closing the proactive schools comes from slowing down the spread of the outbreak of H1N1 within a given area and thus flattening the peak of infections.
A range of measures have been recommended by the WHO that can be adapted to the local epidemiological situation, available resources, and the social role played by many schools.
"All schools should have effective plans in place as well as secluded space should be made available for isolating students and staff members, who fell ill while at school," recommended the WHO.
In its website it said that schools should promote hand hygiene practices and respiratory etiquette. In order to reduce spread of the virus by crowding, proper cleaning and ventilation measures should be carried out.
"Experience till has demonstrated the role of schools in amplifying transmission of the pandemic virus, both within schools and the wider community. While the outbreak in schools are clearly an important dimension of the current pandemic, no single measure can stop or limit transmission in schools, which provide multiple opportunities for spread of the virus," said the WHO.Eid in Dubai to see marriage of tradition, festivities