Thursday, November 26, 2009

Al Quoz to get drainage system


The Gulf Today, 18 Nov 2009
Dubai's Al Quoz industrial area, which houses hundreds of labour camps, will get a new drainage system to face its growing wastewater woes.
As the Al Quoz area currently has no sufficient sewage treatment system or waste disposal procedures, septic tanks in the labour camps often overflow and floods of heavy sewage water in surrounding areas are a common occurrence.
Dubai Municipality (DM) has planned the sewage and storm water project, costing Dhs86 million, with the aim of easing sewage water management procedures in the industrial areas one, two and three and four.
A senior DM official said that in realisation of issues over the sewage disposal in the areas and concern for preservation of the environment of the city, the project will provide sewage as well as storm water drainage services to 145,000 people in the region.
Talib Julfar, Director of the Drainage and Irrigation Department at the DM, said, "The system will be established alongside Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Khail Road and Umm Suqeim Road. It will cover a total area of 159 hectares out of the 1,897 hectares in the Al Quoz industrial area."
"The project will be set up within 18 months (540 days). It will have wastewater collection and rainwater pipes, the groundwater level reducing pipes and wastewater and rainwater collection chambers," he added.
"House connection pipes, manholes and domestic connection inspection rooms, rainwater connection rooms and the establishment of a sewage pumping station as well as a pumping line are included in the components of the project," pointed out Julfar.
As the area accommodates about 150,000 residents as well as hundreds of industrial units, exposure to raw sewage has been causing various kinds of threats to public health.
The industrial area generates about 300,000 cubic metres of sewage wastewater per day, which is estimated as one of the highest measures of waste production in Dubai.
Sewage treatment plant for Masafi
An advanced sewage water treatment plant is on the anvil at Masafi Village. The installation of the plant will be completed in four months time, according to its patrons.
"The project will cater to the growing needs of about 2,000 residents of the village," said Abdullah Al Ghurair, Chairman of Al Ghurair Group, which is installing the plant in co-operation with Hitachi Plant Technologies.
"The plant will serve as a local sewage treatment facility as well as a valuable source of high quality water for irrigation purposes," he added.
According to Abdullah, the residents of Masafi currently depend on sewage tankers to evacuate sewage from the village to a remote sewage treatment plant.
Essa Al Ghurair, Chairman of Al Ghurair Foods, said, "The initiative will value the natural resources of the area, as it introduces environmentally friendly technology for wastewater treatment in the area."
"The plant will help to preserve the precious ground water resources of the Masafi area, using it for drinking purposes only," she added.
Dr Sumikawa, President of Hitachi Plant Technologies, said, "The high quality water treatment system will facilitate the local treatment and conversion of sewage water into high quality water, without odour or color, so that it is made suitable for irrigation purposes."
"Unlike the conventional sewage treatment systems, the plant is equipped with membrane bio reactor technology that will further help to reduce the carbon footprint," he added.
He pointed out that the plant will be operated with a 500 CBM/Day treatment capacity. The eco-friendly process requires less energy and will maintain a high consistency in the quality of water, that can be safety used for irrigation and other industrial applications in the town of Masafi.
"A water recycling establishment, utilising the same technology for high grade industrial water, is already operational in Al Quoz," Sumikawa added.
A ground breaking ceremony for the plant was held on Monday, in the presence of Mubarak Ali Al Shamsi of RAK Municipality, Mohammad Abduallah Al Maherzi, and Saied Sultan Shahin from Masafi Ras-Al-Khaimah, Ali Abdullah from Fujairah Municipality, and Khameez Al Damhani from the Masafi Municipality.
Senior delegates from Al Ghurair and Hitachi Plant Technologies were also present.

H1N1 vaccination for Hajj pilgrims in the capital


The Gulf Today, 17 Nov 2009
Hajj pilgrims from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain can get administered with the H1N1 vaccines at 11 healthcare centres across the region. The vaccinations are free of cost for all the pilgrims planned to move towards the Holy land in Saudi Arabia.
Launched by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, the vaccination will be available from Nov.17 until the end of the season at the facilities of Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS) and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), said senior health officials.
Clyde Eder, Operation Director at SEHA, said, "Eight AHS centres and three SKMC family medicine centres have been designated for the H1N1 vaccination in the region. The centres in Abu Dhabi include DPSC Abu Dhabi, Bain Al Jesraen, Khalifa (A) and Al Samha healthcare centres, and Al Mushrif, Al Baten and Al Khaleej family medicine centres."
"While, the swine flu vaccination will be available for Al Ain residents at DPSC Al Ain, Al Muwaiji, Al Mezyed and Al Maqam healthcare centres," he added.
Clyde urged all the pilgrims to visit the facilities to take both the compulsory vaccinations, which are offered free of cost.
According to him, the initiative is aimed at making procedures convenient for the Hajj pilgrims and also to ensure their good health right from starting the journey from the UAE to coming back.
"It will increase the reach of the H1N1 vaccination process for both local and expatriate pilgrims from the region," he added.
Dr Tej Maini, CEO of SKMC, pointed out, "Two vaccinations, one for H1N1 and another for Meningitis, are compulsory for the Hajj pilgrims. All the Hajj pilgrims are required to take these compulsorily at one time. It is preferable to take them both two weeks prior to travelling for Hajj so that they provide maximum strength and immunity for the body."
According to Dr Abdel Haddi Al Ahbabi, COO of AHS-SEHA, The H1N1 vaccinations for our Hajj pilgrims has already started on Monday, and it will continue until the conclusion of the Hajj period for this year. The vaccinations will be offered during the working hours of the respective authorised centres for H1N1 vaccine.
"As a note of precaution to all, if any flu-like symptoms appear, they should visit the healthcare facility consultant in the UAE or the Hajj medical representative in the Holy land. The pilgrims should provide the documents evidencing their upcoming visit for Hajj and a certificate will be issued to them for all the vaccinations taken for this season's Hajj," he explained.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DHA centres provide H1N1 vaccination


The Gulf Today, 16 Nov 2009

Hajj pilgrims from the emirate of Dubai can avail of H1N1 vaccinations at Dubai Health Authority's (DHA) selected health centres, according to DHA officials.
Dr Ahmed Ibrahim Bin Kalban, CEO of Primary Health Sector at the DHA, said, "Primary health clinics located in Al Mamzar, Al Tawar, Mankhool, Nadd Al Sheba, Hatta and Al Safa are among the selected DHA health centres."
He encouraged pilgrims to visit the centres and get administered with the H1N1 vaccination as it's compulsory for all the UAE pilgrims heading towards the holy site in Saudi Arabia. The vaccines will be provided free of cost.
"In order to assist the Hajj pilgrims, all the designated health centres will be operational from Sunday to Thursday from 7am to 10pm and on Saturday between 8am and 1pm," said Dr Kalban.
"The pilgrims, before leaving the UAE, have to show a health certificate to prove that they have received H1N1 vaccination. The yellow health card is significant as it helps save the lives of pilgrims who arrive at the holy site, though KSA has not made it mandatory for pilgrims to be vaccinated against H1N1," he added.
As part of its standard preventive measures required for the Haj pilgrimage, the Ministry of Health (MoH) had earlier started administering vaccines for seasonal flu and meningitis free of cost to the pilgrims.
Dr Emad Abdul Karim, Consultant of Community Medicine and Vaccinology at the MOH said the Haj pilgrims have to receive three vaccines, including the compulsory vaccination for H1N1 and Meningitis (Meningococcal) and the optional one for seasonal flu.
"About 6,228 pilgrims from the UAE are expected to leave the country for performing Hajj this year. Out of the total registered pilgrims, 1,000 are nationals," said the MoH officials.

Medical preparedness plan for Hajj pilgrims


The Gulf Today, 17 Nov 2009
A comprehensive medical preparedness plan has been developed by Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to ensure the safety and comfort of Hajj pilgrims who will use the Dubai International Airport.
This year, over 6000 Hajj pilgrims are expected from Dubai to head towards the Holy site in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In order to oversee the functioning of the Dubai Airport Medical Centre and to ensure whether the preparedness plans for Hajj pilgrims are in place, a high delegation of health officials from Rashid Hospital, including CEO Dr Shawqi Khoori and Medical Director Dr Younis Kazim have inspected the medical centre recently.
More than seventy doctors and nurses equipped with the latest medical equipment will be present in buildings 1 and 3 of the Dubai International Airport, said Dr Amer Al Zarooni, Director of Airport Medical Centre.
"The DHA has developed the preparedness plan to ensure they have a rapid response to emergency medical situations such as cardiac arrest," he added.
"The DHA has set up two thermal scanners at two locations in the airport to detect travellers with H1N1 symptoms," said Al Zarooni.
According to him, the DHA will provide all the necessary vaccinations such as meningitis vaccine, H1N1 vaccine for the pilgrims.
"The pilgrims will also be provided with Vitamin-C drinks, in addition to several pamphlets giving them information on ways to protect their health," he noted.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New facility caters to cardiac case glut


The Gulf Today, 16 Nov 2009

Rashid Hospital in Dubai opened a completely dedicated catheterisation suite at its premises on Sunday, as the influx of cardiac cases has shown higher rates in recent times.
The hospital has been witnessing a high volume of cardiac cases during the last few years. Last year the admissions to the cardiology department was 1,600 patients; this figure amounts to 11 per cent of the total admissions in Rashid Hospital, according to health officials.
Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said, "In 2008, the department conducted between 850 and 900 cardiac procedures."
"So, the health authorities think that the cath suite will facilitate to cater to the growing number of cardiac cases the hospital receives."
"The cath laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and facilities to meet with the cardiac cases of the emirate's present and future population," he added.

Dedicated suite
Dr Shawqi Khoory, CEO of Rashid Hospital, said, "Previously, the cath laboratory at the hospital was shared with the radiology department. But in recent times with the influx of cardiac cases, we decided to set up a completely dedicated cath suite."
"The cath suite is equipped with a procedure room, eight beds for patients, a control room for all the equipments as well as monitors, seminar room and an on-call room for doctors," he explained.
According to Dr Fahad Omar Baslaib, Head of Cardiology Department at the Rashid Hospital, the cath suite has the latest technology required for coronary angiography.
The procedures that will be conducted in the cath suite include primary angioplasty, coronary angioplasty with stent implantation, balloon valvuloplasty and permanent peacemaker implantation," he said.
"It is also equipped with other devices such as the intravascular ultrasound machine which does an ultrasound inside the artery and also checks the pressure of the artery, a unique facility in the region," he added.
He noted that patients can stay back in the same cath suite for 24 hours. They also have access to round-the-clock on-call doctor service.
The unit is the third busiest department after the trauma centre and the general surgery department.

Monday, November 23, 2009

UAE spends Dhs374m on diabetes treatments per year


The Gulf Today, 15 Nov 2009
The UAE is spending Dhs374 million per year to meet expenses of diabetes treatments of various types to the residents of the country, reveals the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Dr Hanif Hassan, the UAE Minister of Health, said the national statistics indicate that incidence of diabetes reached 19.6 per cent in 2005.
"The percentage is expected to further rise to above 28 per cent by the year 2025, if effective preventive measures have not been taken to curb the impact of the epidemic in the society," he added.
According to him, every third patient admitted in the hospitals of the country is suffering from diabetes and its related complications ranging from cardiovascular disorders, kidney failure, blindness and amputations.
As part of integrated anti-diabetes action plans, the MoH has launched a year-long national diabetes awareness campaign, rolling out to coincide with the World Diabetes Day on Nov.14.
Dr Mahmoud Fikri, Chief Executive Officer of Health Policy at the MoH and Chairman of the National Committee for Combating Diabetes, said the outreach programme is aimed at educating school children, parents as well as care-givers and health professionals.
"The comprehensive outreach programme, developed by the National Committee to Combat Diabetes, will ensure participation of various healthcare establishments, corporate entities, sports and leisure organisations," he added.
According to him, the MoH has dedicated the year 2009-2010 to wide variety of activities to fight the disease.
Dr Fikri noted the national campaign becomes significant, as the country is going through considerable economic transformation. So, combined efforts are essential to combat the disease.
"The programme will provide with guidelines to healthcare institutions, urging them to put effective measures in treating the disease, and increase levels of knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals," he pointed out.
Launching the national campaign, Dr Hanif Hassan has announced a number of health projects, planned by the National Committee to be implemented during the next few days to address the serious situation.
"The UAE will host the World Conference on Diabetes annually for five consecutive years, as part of the campaign. The first conference will be held in March 2010," said the minister.
According to Dr Fikri, a programme will be conducted on Nov.24 for giving lessons to school students, teachers, parents and healthcare providers. In addition, training sessions have started by international educationists for 60 nurses.
Dr Hassan said, "According to the national statistics, the UAE is ranked as the world's second largest diabetes prevalent country after Nauru.
"Diabetes has emerged as a significant reason of morbidity and mortality in the Arab world, and the disease results in putting heavy burdens on the individual, family and society in a whole," he added.

Dubai gets new sewage treatment system


The Gulf Today, 13 Nov 2009

Dubai is set to launch yet another environmental preservation initiative aimed at safe and eco-friendly disposal of the sewage and garbage generated in the city.
The emirate's latest sewage treatment plant will be operational within 915 days in Nad Al Sheba-4 area, located specifically along the Emirates Road and Al Ain Road and the regions of the Nad Al Sheba-2 and 3, according to Dubai Municipality (DM).
Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of the DM, said "The Dhs406 million project, spanning over an area of about 594 hectares, will provide sewage services for a population of 347,053 people, as well as storm water drainage service for the region."
"All residential, commercial, recreational and service areas located in Nad Al Sheba-4 will be benefited from the new extension of the sewage and storm water drainage network," he added.
"The plant can also accommodate the disposal of drainage and storm water from Dubai Academic City and Dubai Silicon Oasis on the main lines of the project, in addition to receiving the future sewage and rain water of Nad Al Sheba-3 on the main lines," pointed out Lootah.
"Among the components of the project, the wastewater collection pipes come 55,154 metres long, while the rainwater pipes are 63,202 metres long and the length of the tubes for reducing the groundwater level is 11,520 metres," he explained.
According to him, there are 737 rooms for wastewater collection, 786 rooms for rainwater collection, 9,900 metres long pipes for house connections, 414 manholes for home inspections and 3,060-metre-long pipes for rainwater connections.
Lootah said that a sewage pumping station with a capacity of 900 litres per second already exists at the location, while a new sewage pumping system will be set up with the same capacity.
"This is in addition to the establishment of 3,000-metre-long pump of 700mm, the development of the existing rainwater pumping station and the establishment of a new storm water pumping station with a capacity of 9,000 litre per second," he added.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dubai's waste disposal sees 20% annual jump


The Gulf Today, 27 May 2009

Dubai's immense economic growth followed by its acceleration of urban development in recent years has brought about significant waste management challenges to the booming city, which is witnessing a rapid increase in waste disposal with a 20 per cent addition every year, according to the chief of Dubai Municipality (DM).
Hussain Nasser Lootah, DM's Director General, said the quantity of waste generated in the emirate and arrived daily at the municipal garbage dump for the purpose of disposal was estimated at above 10,000 tons.
"In the year 2000, the daily disposal of Dubai's waste was about 3000 tons. The construction waste generated in the emirate has also increased to an approximate rate of 30 per cent. The amount of total waste production is expected to triple by 2014," revealed Lootah on the sidelines of the Middle East Waste Summit 2009, opened on Tuesday at the Dubai Airport Expo.

Regions' Challenge
"Currently, an approximate 120 million tons of waste is produced in the GCC, putting the region in the top ten worldwide ranking of the biggest waste producers per capita. The UAE and Saudi Arabia produce the most waste. It is estimated that 55 percent of this total waste comes from construction and demolition, 20 percent from municipal waste, 18 percent from industrial waste, and 7 percent from hazardous waste," he added.
According to him, the rapid development in the Gulf, population growth, industrial diversification and construction activities combined have made the region facing severe challenges in the waste management.

DM's Initiatives
Lootah pointed out: "The quantity of garbage generated from household is alarmingly increasing in the emirate, in addition to industrial and factory wastes. We have got several other sources of waste. To respond to the increasing quantities of generated waste as well as the need for innovative waste management solutions, DM has implemented several initiatives for the application of environmentally sustainable practices in waste management, such as project to recycle construction waste, household waste recycling project, a draft consumer recycled tires, and the plan to recycle consumed oil."
"A highly sophisticated treatment plant for medical waste, which is under construction in Jebel Ali with an estimated cost of Dhs24 million, will be operational by the next month. Toxic waste generated from factories of the emirate will also be treated in a specially designed toxic waste plant built in the industrial area. A separate treatment plant for domestic oil waste was opened two months ago," he said.

Significant Projects
"Within a general framework for the strategy to reduce waste, DM has working on three significant waste management projects, which includes the automated system for the collection of compressed waste, and waste from the transfer of energy in the emirate," Lootah added.
According to him, the proposal of DM to turn waste into energy is aimed at reducing the emission levels of methane gas from landfills health, reducing dependence on landfills and the health of the traditional method of disposal of household waste.
Lootah said: "Dubai city has the process of sustainable management of waste issues. DM's made efforts to develop sustainable solutions to the challenges resulting from growth in the quantities of waste generated in the emirate was through a strategic partnership with the private sector."

Community Patrolling
"The municipality has initiated a community patrolling programme, with the co-operation of responsible residents from the local community to control illegal abandoning of waste and garbage in the city," he added.
"The programme has become highly effective as its 500 enlisted members inspect dumping of construction and household waste or littering of useless things and spitting pan masala in public places, and report to the concerned authorities," Lootah pointed out.
"DM also has signed a contract with an international consultant recently to develop a national waste minimisation strategy for the emirate. We expect that the strategies for waste minimisation along with an action plan will be submitted by the consultant before the end of 2009 for our review," he added.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

H1N1 vaccination drive takes off in Sharjah

14 government centres designated across Northern region

The Gulf Today, 11 Nov 2009

The UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) launched its swine flu vaccination drive in Sharjah and Northern Emirates on Tuesday.
The inoculation against the virus will be available for public from Wednesday onwards at about 14 designated centres, including preventive health centres in Dubai, Sharjah and other Northern Emirates, according to a senior MoH official.
Speaking on the sidelines of the first workshop for the National Influenza A (H1N1) Immunisation Campaign, Dr Mahmoud Fikri, Executive Director of Health Policies at the MoH and Chairman of the Technical Committee for Combating H1N1, told The Gulf Today that the private sector has not yet been authorised to perform the H1N1 vaccination.
“The vaccination can only be received from the public health centres on which the private sector operators also have to depend on. Administering the H1N1 vaccine is mandatory for all pilgrims before heading towards Saudi Arabia, while it will be optional for other residents,” he said.
“A yellow, passport-sized International Certificate of Vaccination will be provided to all the pilgrims after they get administered with the Pandemrix H1N1 vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline,” he added.
“The preventive medical centres of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Kalba, Khor Fakkan, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain are among the 14 designated centres for receiving H1N1 vaccination,” explained Dr Emad Abdul Karim, Consultant of Community Medicine and Vaccinology at the MOH.
He said, “The health centre in Dhaid, Mushreif Centre in Ajman, Khatfa Centre in Fujairah, Thaj Mualla Centre in Umm Al Quwain and three centres- Nakheel Centre, RAK Centre and Minae Centre- in Ras Al Khaimah are the rest of the centres where the public will be administered the H1N1 vaccine in the Northern region.”
“In Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia, pilgrims can visit any disease prevention and screening centres for immunization,” he added.
According to Dr Karim, the Haj pilgrims have to receive three vaccines, including the compulsory vaccination for H1N1 and Meningitis (Meningococcal) and optional one for seasonal flu.
He pointed out that the Haj pilgrims must produce certificates proving that they had received the H1N1 vaccination before leaving the UAE. The yellow health card is significant as it helps save the lives of pilgrims who arrive in the Holy site, as KSA has not made it mandatory for pilgrims to be vaccinated against H1N1.
“As part of its standard preventive measures required for the Haj pilgrimage, the MoH had earlier started administering vaccines for seasonal flu and meningitis free-of-cost to the pilgrims,” he noted.
According to Dr Fikri, the UAE has ordered for one million H1N1 vaccines and it is one among the first 20 countries in the world to receive the vaccine.
“The vaccination is needed for three billion people in the world. So far, 50 million doses of the vaccine were distributed worldwide, even though the quantity is not sufficient to meet the needs of even half the world population,” he noted.
The ministry is conducting practical sessions for health professionals in the government sector on the administering of the vaccine to various categories in the country.
The MoH had launched on Monday the national H1N1 awareness campaign for Haj pilgrims in Abu Dhabi.
“About 6,228 pilgrims from the UAE are expected to leave the country for performing Haj this year. Out of the total registered pilgrims, 1,000 are nationals,” said the MoH officials.

Monday, November 9, 2009

One in 12 of UAE people carry Thalassemia gene

The Gulf Today, 9 Nov 2009-11-09

One in 12 people in the UAE carry the gene for thalassemia, a blood disorder that reduces the number of normal blood cells in the body, according to figures collated by the DHA.
The figures have been revealed during the launch of a completely dedicated Thalassemia website on Sunday at the Thalassemia Centre of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
"If two carriers have children, the likelihood of each child developing the disease is 25 per cent. The lack of red blood cells prevents the normal flow of oxygen around the body, which presents with similar symptoms to anemia," said to the DHA officials.
Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director General of the DHA said: "Both public and healthcare professionals can access the information on the Thalassemia disease as well as take part in forum discussions provided at web portal or"
Educate on disease
"The web portal has been designed with separate areas for the public and healthcare professionals, both in Arabic and English languages will help boost education of the disease, and improve communication between itself and the centre's users," he added.
According to him, the web portal has been developed aimed at reaching out to the public and provide them with up-to-date information on facts, diagnosis and treatment options. The website will add to the centre's existing patient communication system that uses SMS to alert its patients to treatment changes, appointments, and the center's activities.
Al Murooshid noted, "The DHA also has put into action measures such as pre-marital testing, in order to reduce the prevalence of Thalassemia in the UAE."
Interactive forum
"The website the public and healthcare professional will also have a forum provided with an opportunity to interact with each other, allowing them to leave comments and suggestions for the centre's staff," he explained.
Dr Khawla Belhoul, Director of the Thalassemia Centre, pointed out: "What we want to do is match the ideal international chronic care module released by WHO, and a website containing accurate up-to-date information on the disease for patients, the public and healthcare professionals, is part of that."
"We want to encourage people to use the site to gather information, ask questions, leave comments, and take part in forums where they can discuss issues with other sufferers," she added.
Localised resource
According to Dr Belhoul, the healthcare professionals will benefit from having a localised resource containing international standard information. They can also contact the DHA authorities by email for expert advice.
His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, launched the portal.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

East coast's marine life out of the red

The Gulf Today, 8 Nov 2009

A gradual return of marine life is visible on the east coast of the UAE, as the coral reefs have begun recovering from the negative impacts of the red tide phenomenon that has been stretching for months in the waters of the eastern region.
The red tide is a reddish discolouration of coastal surface waters due to concentrations of toxin-producing algae, which are fatal to many forms of marine life. In such a situation, fishing grounds are closed to prevent the harvest of any contaminated shellfish.
MoEW measures
The UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) had been making efforts to control the phenomenon that spread widely across the coast, especially in Dibba, Fujairah, Kalba and Khor Fukhan areas.
The movement of the red tide phenomenon has reduced significantly, according to recent studies, which reveal the phenomenon is not causing desertification of the marine environment now, says the MoEW sources.
Dr Maryam Hassan Al Shenasi, Executive Director for Technical Affairs at MoEW, said that the spread of the red tide phenomenon was closely monitored by the ministry. "It is a natural phenomenon and the growth and reproduction of coral reefs in red tide areas have been affected badly in the eastern coastal zone for more than five months," she revealed.
Ill-effects abate
She added, "Studies conducted in the affected areas by the Centre for Marine Environmental Research (CMER) at the MoEW, indicate that the aquatic life is on the path of recovery from adversities, so coral species have now started branching out."
"Meanwhile, the study has not yet disclosed the red tide's severe effects on the coral species that have the ability to withstand strong currents, hurricanes, or low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water," she added.
According to Al Shenasi, the negative impacts during the period of simultaneous occurrence of the phenomenon had resulted in lowering the ability of coral reef to grow and shelter a variety of aquatic creatures in the marine eco-system.
She referred to other red tide affected coastal areas in the world, a phenomenon, which had started to appear frequently with high density in different parts of the world during the last two years.
"The Gulf of Mexico was subjected to the phenomenon for a period exceeding 12 months, but now the coast is returning to its normal marine environment," she noted.
Fishing activity
"The UAE's eastern coastal zone is currently booming with a wide variety of fish reserves provided of course, the season of migration of some fish species. As fishing activities play a key role in maintaining overall living aquatic resources, fishermen are allowed to catch large-sized items, but commercial fishing of small fishes is controlled in order to maintain sufficient fish stocks and develop a sustainable marine environment," explained Al Shenasi.
CMER findings
Dr Ibrahim Al Jamali, director of the CMER, said, "In order to facilitate control of the phenomenon, the CMER had collected samples from the red tide for conducting further analysis and check out the reasons."
"The red tide has become prevalent in the upper layers of water from one to five metres depth, and the number of the algae cells, between 3,000 and 200,000 per litre. The samples have been tested for vesicles accounting for 20 to 30 per cent of each litre of affected water," he added.
According to him, the major reasons for the red tide phenomenon are anarchic climatic change, global warming, the tsunami effect and the increased human activities in the ocean.
"The influence of these factors, directly or indirectly, causes pollution of the marine environment leading to inappropriate aquatic conditions and depletion of nutrients that are needed for the growth of the marine species," he pointed out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fake Viagra tablets seized in capital

The Gulf Today, 3 Nov 2009

The UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) has seized a huge quantity of counterfeit Viagra tablets that were about to be exported through the borders of the UAE.
The attempt to smuggle 1.75 million pills of the fake medicine, used to treat sexual impotence in men, was thwarted by the MoH in a joint operation along with Abu Dhabi Police and Customs officials.
Dr Amin Bin Hussain Al Amiri, Executive Director of Medical Practices and Licensing at the MoH, said that the cargo of about 86 cartons of counterfeit Viagra pills were intended to be exported through the port of Ghwaifat.
“The Control and Registration Department of the MoH had discovered that the cargo of pharmaceutical formula contained the bulk quantity of fake Viagra that weren’t registered in the records of medicinal types at the health ministry,” he added.
According to him, a clothes and textiles company attempted to export the drugs using documents for the shipment of their products. The company was actually permitted to export clothing and blankets, but not medicinal products.
Al Amiri pointed out that the Vigra tablets were not allowed for use in the UAE.
“Upon further inspections, the products were found to be manufactured in China and India,” he noted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New set of food regulations in the pipeline

The Gulf Today, 3 Nov 2009

DUBAI Municipality (DM) is contemplating strict regulations on risk-based analysis of food items starting from categories including water, dairy and meat production units and training of employees in each sector.
Bashir Hassan Yousif, Acting Head of Food Studies and Planning Section at the DM, said, "As per the planned legislation, all food business operators must show that they have adopted good hygienic practices on premises suitable for the purpose and it should not be just meeting the minimum requirements of the law."
"Provisions of the science-based food safety legislation will focus on prevention from various problems such as food poisoning rather than curing in the event of hazards. The DM initiative will move towards enforcing self regulation, as a combination of government and business regulatory efforts," he added.
Yousif was speaking to the media after an educational workshop on food regulations on the sidelines of the Sweets Middle East 2009 Exhibitions at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
"In the first phase, the regulations will be imposed on categories including water, dairy and meat production units. Training the workers in the concerned units as well as service sector employees will also be mandatory as per the new regulations," he said.
"A set of new regulations became necessary as the present guidelines are not specific enough and are insufficient for meeting food safety standards in all aspects," he added.
The DM official noted that a categorised guideline for different areas of food manufacturing and operations will be drafted as a transparent and integrated approach for risk-based food control depending on reliable sampling and analytical methods.
"The regulations have been planned to outline considering risk-based analysis conducted according to the current scientific factors. The responsibilities will be decentralised for the manufacturers and food suppliers," he said.
According to Yousif, the set food safety measures are planned in the wake of the growing significance of the risk-based analysis, cost benefit or impact analysis and risk communication. All food establishments should adhere to the control systems," he stressed.
He said, "Meanwhile, in traditional food regulatory and control systems, the set of standards are outlined by the government. So the responsibilities are presumed to be the regulator's (government) task. But the new regulations will emphasise the responsibility of food manufacturers."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Unified diabetes protocol for Dubai

The Gulf Today, 2 Nov 2009

Bringing 100 years of experience in diabetic care to Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) will implement a unified diabetes concept and protocol system for the emirate, in cooperation with one of the world's frontline diabetic treatment centres.
The Joslin Diabetes Centre in Boston (JDC) will expand its diabetic management services to Dubai through all the DHA primary healthcare clinics and hospitals to manage and treat diabetes in the emirate.
Reaching out
As per the initiative, diabetes treatment centres across Dubai will cover different areas and reach out to the community, according to a senior DHA official.
"A roadmap will be established in the emirate to tackle this condition, as the UAE has become the world's second largest diabetic prevalent country. The Boston centre will establish a stronger referral system, promote advanced diabetes education and ensure protocols that are followed across the board to treat diabetes," said a DHA spokesperson.
Talks held
A delegation from the DHA, headed by its director general Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, met with Dr Kenneth Quickel, President and CEO of the JDC in Boston, to discuss ways to widen the scope of work that the two organisations have jointly undertaken.
Al Murooshid said, "As the DHA is in the process of identifying methods to establish a strong unified system across primary healthcare centres to treat and manage diabetes, the initiative is vital to increase efficiency and detect diabetes in its early stages, before it causes several health complications."
Defining roadmap
According to him, the emirate's primary healthcare centres play a crucial role in achieving this level of competency. So now, the DHA is in the process of defining a roadmap to ensure that we establish common practices of treating diabetes across all DHA hospitals and clinics.
"This will ensure that standardised protocols are followed. We are also looking at building stronger referral systems, establishing a better diabetes database and promoting advanced education in diabetes care and management," he added.
Al Murooshid pointed out, "Training our primary healthcare doctors in diabetes management is a crucial step for us and the DHA strongly emphasises more training initiatives. We also understand the need to reach out to our community and are working to set up clinics across different areas of Dubai that provide diabetes treatment."
"The JDC in Dubai will feature state-of-the-art treatment facilities for patients with diabetes and focuses on prevention, education, lifestyle management and podiatry, as well as early detection of complications for patients aged 18 and older," he explained.
Over 1000 benefit
"Presently, the affiliation with the Harvard affiliated Joslin Diabetes Centre has ensured that over the last five months, since the JDC has opened its doors in Dubai, over 1000 diabetes and pre-diabetics have received top-of-the-line multidisciplinary treatment to tackle their condition," he added.
According to the DHA chief, the JDC centre in Dubai has four US-board certified endocrinologists, seven diabetes educators, a podiatrist, a physiotherapist and a mental health counsellor.