Saturday, October 31, 2009

Isolation rooms at labour camps mooted

National policy on H1N1 lists new measures for workers

The Gulf Today, 30 Oct 2009

The national policy for prevention of H1N1 at the UAE's labour accommodations and workplaces has been unveiled on Thursday.
The policy aims at curbing the spread of the contagious disease and educating workers about its dangers.
As outlined in the comprehensive swine flu prevention strategy, companies should set up two separate isolation rooms at their labourer accommodations in the event of reported cases of inmates with swine flu symptoms, says a senior health ministry official.
Dr Mahmoud Fikri, Executive Director of the Health Policies Affairs at the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Swine Flu, said: "One of the isolation rooms should be dedicated for H1N1 confirmed cases, whereas the other room should be provided for suspected cases."
The newly-appointed chairman of the swine flu combating committee was speaking to The Gulf Today on the sidelines of a joint workshop conducted by the ministries of health and labour for representatives and PROs of companies at Sharjah Culture Palace.
Dr Fikri added that company PROs are responsible for educating labourers about the prevention measures of the swine flu and giving them lessons on hygienic living ways as well as things to do in the event of H1N1 infection.
Dr Gamil M Tourkey, Technical Director of Preventive Medicine Department at the MoH, said that a team from the health ministry on medical zone level will train communication officers of the Ministry of Labour (MoL) and company PROs in each emirate.
Training PROs
"The selected MoL official and company representatives will be trained on the MoH guidelines and regulations to be followed in the events of H1N1 infection cases. The measures to prevent the spread of the disease in labour camps, as well as treatment methods will be explained to them," he added.
According to him, the MoH has also printed thousands of swine flu educational materials such as brochures and posters in different languages for distribution at labour camps and work sites.
Dr Tourkey pointed out, "The MoH will receive reports on the flu cases from labour accommodations through the company PROs and the MoL officials. Director of the preventive medical department in each emirate has to report to the MoL officers about the infected cases reported by the company representatives, as well as preparing the record to send to the MoH headquarters."
"A technical team based on the preventive medical department in each emirate should visit the worker dwelling places upon receiving tip-off on the suspected cases. They will ensure that the patients are provided with isolation rooms and will take the infected to the nearest hospital if necessary," he explained.
MoL role
Maher Alobad, Executive Director for Inspections at the Ministry of Labour, said, "Special MoL inspectors will conduct visits to labour accommodations to ensure the companies adhere to the H1N1 prevention regulations, and keep a healthy and hygienic living environment to workers."
"The MoL officers in each emirate have to record and inform the headquarters about the suspected cases reported by the PROs and preventive medical department heads. There are 20 inspection teams assigned across the UAE," he added.
Quarantine areas
According to Dr Ahmed Nabil M. Abou-Taleb, Head of Occupational Health Department at the MoH in Dubai, the isolation rooms for swine flu patients at worker accommodations should be set up separately from the common living area of workers in order to reduce the spread of the virus.
He said: "The rooms should have ample fresh air and should be provided with drugs for reducing fever temperature, digital thermo metre with disposable cover, protection masks, tissue papers, liquid hand-washing soaps and other anti-septic solutions. Also, separate bathrooms should be allocated to suspected and confirmed cases, provided with all hygienic measures."
"It's significant that the companies should arrange special vehicles, to transport the H1N1 infected patients to hospitals, which cannot be used for other purposes," he added.
According to Dr Nabil, the company should have a swine flu action team consisting of a nurse, a doctor and a supervisor of workers. The number of team members should be proportionate to the number of company's labourers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

H1N1 drive ends in 160 schools

The Gulf Today, 29 Oct 2009

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has completed conducting H1N1 educational training programmes across all private schools in Dubai.
Commenced on Sept.1 in the beginning of this academic year, the DHA's section of community health programme conducted the training programme on prevention of the spread of the swine flu, across approximately 160 private schools in the emirate, according to a senior DHA official.
'Risk reduced'
Dr Fatima Al Attar, Head of Community Services Programme Section of the Primary Healthcare Sector at the DHA said, "By educating school nurses, doctors and administration staff about health guidelines, we could ensure that the risk of any infection is drastically reduced.
"We have asked schools to follow national protocols to reduce the risk of H1N1 in schools. The safety of children in schools is vital. It's significant to undertake swine flu preventive steps as well as provide the school administration an opportunity to raise their concerns and queries which we have addressed through this extensive training initiative," she added.
She said that the programme was headed by Dr Hamid Y Hussain, Supervisor of the School Health Community Programme and Primary Health Care Sector at DHA.
The programme was headed by Dr Hamid Y Hussain, Supervisor of the School Health Community Programme, and Primary Health Care Sector at DHA. Over 400 doctors, nurses and administration staff from various Dubai schools attended the seminar held at the Rashid Library Auditorium.
Health seminar
Dr Attar noted, "The DHA also conducted its annual seminar on school health, focusing on ways by which the school authorities can ensure reducing the risk of any infection in their premises."
The seminar had speakers from the Dubai Health Authority, the Juvenile Diabetes Education Centre (JDEC), Johnson and Johnson as well as other healthcare companies.
According to Dr Hussain, the seminar discussed the requirements that each school must follow. It also addressed healthcare challenges that schools face.
"The idea of this interaction is to help schools achieve high standards of care when their pupils are in the school environment. Schools also bear a certain amount of responsibility to educate their pupils about the precautions they should take to avoid the risk of any infection," he said.
"We have strongly emphasised on the role that schools play to protect the health of their students," he added.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Come 2013, jute bags will see plastic ones out

The Gulf Today, 28 Oct 2009

Eco-friendly bags named 'earthbags' get a big boost from the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) with its recent announcement banning plastic bags completely by 2013.
As the MOEW had launched last week a comprehensive campaign titled "The UAE free of plastic bags", the jute-made products will slowly gain entry into the local market, claims the manufacturers of the bags.
3-year drive
The MOEW campaign will last for three years in order to reduce the negative impacts of the waste from plastic bags on human health as well as the environment.
According to Adel Maniar, Managing Director of Mak Creations, which distributes "Earthbags" in the Middle East and North Africa, the government's latest declaration protecting the environment has given them the enthusiasm to educate the public about the use of jute bags.
He said, "We aim at encouraging general public to use the earth-friendly bags that will help protect environment. The earth-bags are made from jute that will become popular among UAE companies led by Emirates Airlines which uses it for its first class amenities' bags."
Eco-friendly jute
"Being one of the strongest natural plant fibres, jute is durable and re-usable. It is a 100 per cent natural material that consumes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen into the atmosphere. Fabrics made of jute fibres are therefore carbon dioxide neutral and are naturally decomposable," he added.
The eco-friendly bag will be showcased at the Gift and Premium Show opening on Tuesday at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hall 3.
The advantage
According to Maniar, jute bags are an ideal form of marketing tool due to their customisable, colour variability and primarily environment nurturing characteristics.
"There is a far greater advantage for users of jute bags than just helping the environment. It is a thriving marketing method that is being used by many small to large corporations in the US and Europe," he explained.
He said that their factory in Kolkata, India has a manufacturing capacity of 1.8 million jute bags per year.
Three stages
The anti-plastic campaign of the environment ministry includes three main stages, in which the first phase will long for above six months with community awareness sessions and education programmes.
While the second stage will focus on bringing out alternatives to plastic bags such as biodegradable products and other models in collaboration with private sector. And the third phase will last for more than a year to publicise the laws and will promote the importance of reducing the use of plastic bags in shopping malls and supermarkets.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dhs.500 fine for tampering with public waste containers

The Gulf Today, 27 Oct 2009

People who misplace, tamper with or scatter the contents of waste containers set up in public places will face a fine of Dhs 500, says a senior civic body official.
Hassan Makki, Director of the Waste Management Department at DM said that any person tampering with waste containers or scattering their contents will be violating the Local Order No. 11 of 2003, which states that it is prohibited for any person to tamper with waste containers or dig up their contents.
"If caught, the department will fine the violators and confiscate their tools. The companies they work for will also be contacted, so as not to allow them to carry out such practices. Coordination will be sought from the concerned authorities to take necessary actions towards people who have no documents," he said.
The civic body called upon the public and the establishments to cooperate with the civic body, to address the phenomenon of tampering with waste containers and scattering of their contents to keep the city clean and beautiful.
According to Makki, the phenomenon is considered to be bad culture that distorts the appearance of the city and the beauty of the streets.
He said, "The civic body has conducted several warning programmes to tackle the issue. The DM has now prepared a number of posters and notifications with warning messages to include various categories. Such messages will be placed on Municipality waste containers in order to raise awareness to stop the practice of tampering with the containers and scattering their contents."
"Some individuals from private establishments or wandering workers dig up and scatter the contents of the Municipality waste containers. It is uncivilised behaviour that leads to a distortion of the general appearance of the city. It also poses a risk to the offenders themselves as well as leaves the area surrounding the containers in poor hygienic conditions," he added.
Makki noted that that the contents of these containers are the property of the Municipality as long as they are within the containers. The contents of the containers are considered to be protected as they are recyclable materials.
"It is one of the targets of the Municipality to activate the role of strategic partners in waste recycling projects in the emirate by feeding waste separation plants of recyclable materials," he explained. "The private companies involved in waste recycling and waste treatment activities bear responsibility to their employees who commit such acts," he said.
The public is also requested to help catch offenders by reporting such persons by contacting the area offices of the department or the emergency unit of the Municipality.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

22,000 gear up for Dubai cleanup

The Gulf Today, 22 Oct 2009

The UAE's largest voluntary cleanup drive titled "Clean-up the World" will witness this year the participation of nearly 22,000 volunteers including school and university students, NGOs and community groups joining hands in cleaning up designated sites across Dubai.
Observed under the banner "Communities Uniting to Clean up and Conserve the Environment," the 4-day environment campaign will kick off on Oct.27 and run until Oct.30. It will line up a host of activities and awareness initiatives aimed at reducing waste and encouraging the public to reuse or recycle, according to Dubai Municipality (DM).
"The main areas for clean up activities will be Nadd Al Shiba, desert area in Wadi Al Amradi, bachelor accommodation areas in Al Quoz, Nadd Al Hamr, Al Khawaneej, Al Aweer area behind Defence Camp, Al Qusais Labour Camp and Ras Al Khor Natural Sanctuary," said Hassan Makki, Director of Waste Management Department at DM.
"Other areas include Jaddaf Fishermen's Village, Jumeirah-1 Fishermen's Village, Heritage Village area, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim open beaches, Hatta Tourist areas, Industrial areas, Jebel Ali Port Free Zone area, Diving Beach and Creek, and labour camps, he added.
According to him, the campaign is aimed at improving public cleanliness in the emirate in cooperation with individuals, government establishments, private firms and non-governmental organisations through effective participation.
Inaugural day
Yaqoob Al Ali, Coordinator of the Clean-up the World campaign, said, "The official launch of the event will be held on Tuesday at Al Mamzar Corniche. Beginning at 10am, the launch will witness signing an agreement on collection of religious publications and newspapers from mosques."
"Programmes include activities on avoiding throwing cigarette butts on public places, environment-themed stage presentation by school students, recreation sessions for students through workshops, most beautiful painting competition for school students, clean-up activities at the fishermen's village and honouring and distribution of certificates and souvenirs to the participants," he added.
Second day
Al Ali explained, "The second day of the campaign has been planned with activities to be conducted at Al Mamzar area. Volunteers from government educational institutions will be active in cleaning-up the area, and the programme will include distribution of litter bins to schools, abandoned vehicles removal campaign in coordination with the operations unit and honouring participants and distribution of certificates and souvenirs."
Third day
According to him, volunteers from private schools, colleges and universities will join together at Al Sufooh, on the third day of clean-up campaign. A can collection competition will also be held for private schools.
"In addition to organising workshops on pests in and around waste bins, in coordination with the operations unit, participants will be honoured with distribution of certificates and souvenirs," said Al Ali.
"Organised on the sidelines of the campaign at one of the shopping malls, the awareness programmes include workshops for general public on recycling and reducing waste, which will also focus on making usable materials from waste, distribution of saplings to public to encourage horticulture and its role in curbing climate change, and distribution of awareness publications," he added.
For schools
"Meanwhile, the educational sessions for schools include broadcasting campaign programmes on school radios, lectures. Workshops for school students will give lessons on the importance of waste reduction, arranging visits for students to waste recycling factories and natural sanctuaries in the emirate of Dubai," he noted.