Saturday, April 30, 2011

‘Carriers of Thalassemia disease can go up to 1m in UAE’

19 April 2011, The Gulf Today

Dubai: The number of carriers of the genetic disease thalassemia in the UAE may go up to 1 million, revealed a senior health official on Monday.
Dr Khawla Belhoul, director of the Thalassemia Centre of Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said that approximately 600,000 people in the Emirates are carriers of the disease. 
According to him, the number of patients may increase with the continuous influx of people from other countries, which are at high risk of the disease.
Thalassemia is a blood disorder that reduces the number of normal blood cells in the body. If two carriers have children, the likelihood of each child developing the disease is 25 per cent.
“Thalassemic patients are hooked on to blood for survival. They need regular, lifelong transfusions of blood. For thalassemia patients, blood is the most important resource, to ensure their survival. All the members of the society should come forward to donate and help save the lives of thousands of patients,” urged Dr Belhoul.
She was speaking to the media at a five-day awareness campaign, to mark World Thalassemia Day 2011, which falls on May 8.
According to her, the number of thalassemic patients in our society speaks volumes about the prevalence of this condition and thus such initiatives are vital to educate our community and reach out to them.
“In the UAE, one in 12 people carry the gene for thalassemia. Around 40 per cent of the patients at the Dubai Thalassemia Centre are Emiratis. Another 40 per cent are expatriates from Asian and African countries, while the other 20 per cent of thalassemic patients are Arab nationals,” elaborated Dr Belhoul.
“Geographically speaking, South Middle East, Mediterranean and Asian countries are at the highest risks of the condition. The rates of prevalence of the genetic disease vary from six to 12 to even 16 per cent in the countries,” she said.
The Dubai Thalassemia Centre is the Emirate’s only dedicated facility to manage this condition by providing internationally recognised levels of care in chronic disease management for thalassemic patients.
“About 420 patients receive regular treatment and blood transfusions at the centre,” noted Dr Belhoul, “Each patient requires approximately 34 units of blood annually through an average 17 transfusions. However, additional units of blood may be required depending on the patient’s condition. We also receive extra patients who visit the centre for transfusions from time to time.”
“Education of patients, family members and the public in general, is a key part of chronic disease management and we at the centre strongly advocate the importance of such campaigns and initiatives which provide the public information and well as give them an opportunity to ask questions about the disease,” she added.
Khalid Al Sheikh Mubarak, deputy director general at the DHA, said the efforts of the authority are towards reducing the prevalence of Thalassemia in the society.
“The DHA will send eight thalassemic patients to Turkey for a holiday trip as part of the campaign to support them. Patients above the age of 18 will fly to Turkey on the April 22, along with two nurses from the thalassemia centre,” he added.
According to him, the trip will provide them with recreational activities to break the monotony of regular treatments, which they need to undergo.
After this campaign, staff members and patients from the centre will head to the 14th TIF (Thalassemia International Federation) international conference for patients and parents, which will take place in Turkey from May 11 to 14.

Benchmark to check vegetable price manipulation

28 April 2011, The Gulf Today

Solid parametres to create transparency and stability of prices in the local vegetable market have been implemented by the authorities in the capital.
The Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre (ADFSC) has set up a weekly price benchmark for locally-grown vegetables, effectively preventing price manipulation by some traders who artificially drive prices high or low.
A top official indicated that the initiative will satisfy customer requirements with competitive prices and quality presentation of the produce, while ensuring a competitive environment for locally-grown products to increase the income of farm owners and develop a sustainable agricultural production.
Christopher Hirst, CEO of the ADFSC, said the weekly list of prices for the purchase of local products from farmers will protect them from daily market fluctuations and the purchase prices will ensure them achieve the highest returns from their products.
The weekly price benchmark has been made available in the vegetables collection centres in the western region of Abu Dhabi.
“The benchmark will create a certain balance in prices through the enhancement of opportunities of marketing the local produce in a way which suits the interest of both the producer and the consumers alike,” he added.
The system sets the average price for the purchase of local produce which is incorporated into supply contracts with farmers, ensuring them a stable marketing opportunity free from the risk of daily price fluctuations.
“Since the beginning of the current farming season, the ADFSC has been implementing different measures to control vegetables prices in the favor of consumers,” he said.
“Customers have witnessed an evident decrease in the cost of vegetables during the last two months as a result of the abundance of local production of fresh vegetables, especially cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbages and eggplants,” according to him.
“Prices of some vegetables also have reduced at unprecedented rates due to the higher volumes of local produce and the increase in the number of marketing channels of the local produce. The ADFSC annual contract agreement enables the farmer to focus on cultivation and production since the marketing is secured for the entire 12-month period.”
“Feasibility studies made about the marketing of the local products suggested that the agricultural marketing centres play a pivotal role as a main marketing channel for farmers and livestock breeders, allowing them to compete in the local market,” elaborated Hirst.
As per the overall price indicator, the majority of vegetables registered a decrease ranging from 40 per cent to 60 per cent during the last two months in comparison with the same period last year.
The centre will launch a comprehensive marketing plan to promote local produce. Infrastructure will be developed to facilitate the delivery, transport, storage and distribution operations of the produce sourced from local farms.
“Provision of suitable marketing channels will guarantee the marketing and the arrival of these products to consumers,” Hirst concluded.
(Pix: Supplied)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ban lifted on bird import from GCC countries

18 April 2011, The Gulf Today

Dubai: The Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) has lifted a ban on import of live birds and poultry products from the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab region.
The MoEW had imposed the ban earlier as part of its surveillance on bird flu pandemic that communicated through import of bird products.
Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, on Sunday issued an administrative decision in this regard based on recent recommendations from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
The nod has been given to lift the ban on trading in all species of birds and their products from the GCC and the Arab countries, according to a spokesperson at the MoEW.
“The resolution specifies entry of any type of bird live or slaughtered, or their products by obtaining an import permit in advance from the environment ministry,” she said.
“The exporting country should be free of bird flu at least 12 months before the date of shipment, with certificates and documents from government agencies to prove that the products are free from virus or contamination,” she added.
“The shipment of live birds should carry veterinary health certificate from competent authorities of the exporting country to ensure that they are noted affected with any type of infectious disease. Also the importer should produce a certificate issued by an accredited laboratory within a period not exceeding 21 days of the export that the birds or products have been tested clinically,” elaborated the ministry official.
“In the case of breach of any condition, the imported consignment will be rejected and returned to the country of origin or will be confiscated and destroyed in the UAE in accordance with the quarantine procedures,” she concluded.
(Pic used for illustrative purpose)

Al Barsha health centre to serve 60,000 residents

14 April 2011, The Gulf Today

Dubai: Aimed at catering to 60,000 residents, the health centre in Al Barsha will be operational in mid 2012, announced Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
The health centre, located in Al Barsha 2, has a built up area of 70,000 sq ft, and will be constructed with a total investment of Dhs50 million, said Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, director general of the DHA.
He was speaking after laying foundation stone for the state-of-the-art facility on Wednesday.
"The DHA is planning to launch more facilities to strengthen primary health care system in the emirate, and address the medical needs of the population at the highest global standards of quality. The authority has a total of 16 health clinics spread out across the emirate," he added.
According to Al Murooshid, the primary health clinics should provide frontline treatment to patients.
"The Al Barsha health centre will provide multidisciplinary services to its population. It will have two an emergency section, family clinics, specialist clinics, specialist centres, dental centres, maternity and child care, x-ray and laboratory, health screening services and a pharmacy," he elaborated.
The existing primary health care centres of the DHA are located in Al Mamzar, Abu Hail, Al Qusais Al Twar Al Rashidiya, Al Khawaneej, Nad Al Hammar Al Mazhar, Al Safa, Al Mankhool, Al Lisaily, Al Barsha, Umm Suqeim, Al Bada'a and Nad Al Sheba, in addition to the Airport Medical Health Centre.

Green choice when fish is on menu

12 April 2011, The Gulf Today

Dubai: Resources of the UAE’s highly favoured fish Hamour is at the top of the over-fished species list, as it has been facing declines of 90 per cent since 1978, reveals an environment expert.

This delicious fish is excessively exploited and being trawled seven times beyond sustainable levels, said Nessrine Alzahlawi, Conservation Officer and Marine Biologist at The Emirates Wildlife Society- WWF (EWS-WWF).
She was speaking after the launch of “Sustainable Fish Recipes”, a first-of-its-kind sustainable fish cookbook that features 20 sustainable fish recipes from the UAE.
The new ‘choose wisely’ cookbook has been released by the Emirates Wildlife Society- WWF (EWS-WWF) on Monday at Gordon Ramsey’s Verre restaurant at Hilton Dubai Creek. The book is a real community effort, reflecting the special nature of the UAE residents and fish.
“The cookbook is the latest addition to the EWS-WWF’s ‘choose wisely’ sustainable fisheries campaign. It showcases recipes submitted to the sustainable fish dish challenge. This is the green choice, when fish is on the menu for the UAE residents,” added Alzahlawi.
“The recipes help people taste the benefits of eating sustainable green-labeled “Go For It” fish and offers consumers alternatives to eating red-labeled “Think Again” fish such as the Hammour, King Fish, and Shaari,” she added.
“Recipes reflect the cuisines of India, the UAE, Europe and South America. Recipes of Tamil Nadu Fish Curry, Shaari Eshkeli with Lemon and Olive Oil, and Hot-Smoked Green Tea Souli Wraps are a few among them,” said Alzahlawi.
According to her, the main goal of the EWS-WWF’s “Choose Wisely” campaign is to address the environmental impact of overfishing in the UAE by increasing customer awareness about the heavy exploitation of UAE fish resources, encourage action from concerned stakeholders, and offer delicious tasting ‘Go For It’ alternatives.
“With colorful names like the Pink-Eared Emperor, Orange-Spotted Trevally, Yellow Bar Angel Fish, and the Sordid Sweetlips, sustainable green-labeled “Go For It” fish taste delicious. The 48-page bi-lingual cookbook explores their flavors with 20 fully-illustrated multi-ethnic recipes submitted by amateur chefs from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah,” she elaborated.
“The recipes were sourced as part of the ‘Sustainable Fish Dish Challenge’ sponsored by the EWS-WWF and the Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi. Consumers submitted their favorite sustainable fish recipes to the website,” noted Alzahlawi.
“The recipes were rated by fellow fish eaters. A selection of recipes from the participants in the Sustainable Fish Dish Challenge was chosen for this book. The cookbook recently won the "UAE Best Fish and Seafood Book" from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010 for its efforts,” she added.
The 20 sustainable fish recipes use sustainable species of the UAE fish which will be made available free of charge from Choose Wisely partners’ hotels and restaurants, as well as from the EWS-WWF offices located on the 8th floor of the Chamber of Commerce Building in Abu Dhabi .
(Pic: Supplied) 

More health facilities to get global accreditation

11 April 2011, The Gulf Today

Dubai: Aimed at raising the quality standards of healthcare services, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has decided to implement more strategies and procedures that would help gain international accreditation for the country's public and private sector healthcare facilities.
The ministry had signed an agreement last year with a US Accreditation agency to evaluate the services, performance standards and practices at the ministry's healthcare facilities.
The ministry is currently speeding up the implementation of the criteria at the health facilities, by setting up a special committee in this regard, according a top MoH official.
Khalid Majid Lootah, assistant undersecretary for Institutional and Supporting Services at the MoH, said the team will supervise the accreditation procedures and an action plan. The team has begun visiting three hospitals such as Sheikh Khelifa Hospital in Ajman, Saqer Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah and Kalba Hospital.
"The accreditation project will be implemented within ten phases beginning with a training programme, formation of a supervision committee, training of the employees, supervision of the team for preparation of the hospitals in the project, field trips to hospitals and health centres, initial assessment, and preparation of final report," he added.
Dr Amina Al Marzooqi, one of the team members, said an initial assessment for the services at the hospitals has been prepared, which highlights three main aspects, such as leadership factors, administration techniques and health services and safety of patients.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Daughter of Indian singer drowns in Dubai pool

15 April 2011, The Gulf Today

DUBAI: Renowned Indian playback singer KS Chithra’s eight-year-old daughter Nandana drowned in the swimming pool of a private villa at Emirates Hills in Dubai on Thursday morning.
The body was repatriated to the Indian city of Chennai, where the singer’s family is settled, on Thursday night.
Nandana, a special needs child, was found lying in the pool at 8.30am. The child was rushed to Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital, but it was too late, sources said.
Chithra landed in Dubai with her daughter and husband Vijayashankar a couple of days ago to perform at AR Rahman “Special Hits” musical show at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday evening to celebrate the Oscar-winning Indian musician’s playback tracks.
Manikandan, a Dubai resident who is close to Chithra’s family, told The Gulf Today that the tragedy happened while the singer and her family were preparing to leave their friend’s residence for the show’s rehearsal.
“When they saw the front door of the house open and Nandana missing, they rushed out and found her in the swimming pool. After confirming the child’s death at the private hospital, the body was taken to Dubai Police Scientific and Forensic Lab and from there to Sonapur Health Centre for embalming. By around 6.30pm the body was moved to the airport for repatriation,” he added.
The incident has plunged the entire Indian film fraternity in shock and sorrow. “It was sad news for Keralites that their beloved KS Chitra’s only little daughter Nandana died after falling into the swimming pool,” Manikandan said.
Nandana, now a Grade 1 student at a Chennai school, was born to the singer who was childless for around 15 years of her marriage.  KS Chithra had told this reporter earlier on the eve of a Dubai music show that she used to take her daughter for the music shows anywhere in the world, as Nandana is a special needs child.
When she came to Dubai, Chithra chose her sister’s home instead of staying with the rest of the troupe at a hotel arranged by concert organizers Media Factory.
Chitra and her husband Vijayashankar, an engineer-turned-businessman, were blessed with Nandana immediately after the release of the Malayalam movie titled “Nandanam,” for which Chitra sung a hit track, and thus the couple named her so.
KS Chitra has lent her voice to films in various languages and has bagged six national awards and numerous other accolades.
(Pic: Supplied) 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Health ministry doubles drug budget to Dhs300m

9 April 2011, The Gulf Today 

The fund for purchasing medicines for hospitals and health centres in the public sector has been doubled by the UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) by 100 per cent, from Dhs150 million spent in 2010 to an outlay of Dhs300 million this year.
The authority is currently implementing a new mechanism to purchase all the necessary medicines in advance for 2011, indicated a top MoH official.
Khalid Majid Lootah, assistant undersecretary for Institutional and Supporting Services at the MoH, said the procedure would identify the need for drugs at the various health facilities, while enabling each hospital to clearly specify the requirements simultaneously.
“The system will be completely implemented next year, and the MoH will give out the drugs to all hospitals based on their requirements. The issues pertaining to shortage of drugs for chronic diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure will be resolved fully once it’s fully operational,” he added.
“Painkillers and vaccinations for various diseases worth Dhs56 million have been included in the current year’s budget for drugs to be supplied at the government hospitals. The value of drugs to be purchased to be used for treatment of chronic diseases has been estimated at Dhs17 million,” he revealed.
“The total cost of medicine purchases by the ministry during the two past months had reached Dhs117 million. Around Dhs752,000 have been allocated to guarantee the required medicines at the hospitals and health centres for the coming six months,” noted Lootah. 
Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, UAE Minister of Health, said the decision comes to ensure essential medicines to all residents in the country, by guaranteeing sufficient quantity of medicines at the government health facilities in all medical districts.
“The federal authority has issued a circular to implement the new electronic system Wareed at all facilities. The automated system will effectively regulate the availability of medicines and rectify shortage of drugs with accuracy and efficiency,” he added.
Lootah called directors of all hospitals and health centres to inform the ministry on the drug requirement within sufficient time to speed up supply procedures easily and smoothly.
“This will enable the MoH to take the right decision at the right time, and estimate financial allocations and adopt the purchasing items according to the unified purchasing agreements in the GCC countries,” he concluded.

World Health Day focuses on challenges of drug resistance

7 April 2011, The Gulf Today 

As drug resistance has become more severe, many infections are no longer easily cured and the condition leads to prolonged and expensive treatment and even greater risk of death, warned World Health Organisation (WHO) on the occasion of the World Health Day on Thursday.
The World Health Day is observed to coincide with the date of the WHO’s establishment.
The WHO on Wednesday has issued a policy package to get everyone, especially governments and their drug regulatory systems, on the right track, with the right measures, quickly.
The health authorities in the UAE have also raised concerns over the issue of resistance of microbes to anti- drugs and the misuse of drugs.
The UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) will observe the day in solidarity with the international communities and organisations.
The WHO, under the theme “Combat Drug Resistance,” called for urgent and concerted action by governments, health professionals, industry and civil society and patients to slow down the spread of drug resistance.
A spokesperson of the MoH said the activities in the UAE focuses on the ways of preserving the valuable wealth of drugs in order to benefit the future generations, with the theme “No action today, no cure tomorrow.”
“The activities in the UAE will highlight WHO’s role in creating awareness in the community in rationalising the use of drugs and anti viruses,” he added.
Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ajman His Highness Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi will open the World Health Day celebrations in Ajman. The minister of health Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim will deliver a keynote speech on the issue of drugs and disease resistance.
Salah Amiri, Assistant Director General of the Environment and Public Health Services at the DM, said, “Antimicrobial Resistance” is the theme of world health day activities at Dubai Municipality’s (DM) public health services department.
“The civic body’s health awareness activities focused on the need for the correct use of medicines, and the need to work together for the conservation of these medicines for the future generation,” he added.
Zohoor Hussein Sabbagh, Director of Public Health Services Department at the DM, said “Antimicrobial resistance on the global level threatens continued survival of many of the drugs currently used to treat patients, as well as important achievements in the fight against major infectious diseases.”
“We need to work with all our energies on promoting health awareness in all health, environmental occasions for entire categories of public employees, students, associations, clubs, libraries, centres and others around Dubai,” he added.
According to WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, the world is on the brink of losing these miracle cures. In the absence of urgent corrective and protective actions, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated.
“At a time of multiple calamities in the world, we cannot allow the loss of essential medicines and essential cures for many millions of people,” she added.

“The recommended policy steps included developing and implementing a comprehensive, financed national plan, strengthening surveillance and laboratory capacity, ensuring uninterrupted access to essential medicines of assured quality, regulating and promoting rational use of medicines, enhancing infection prevention and control and fostering innovation and research and development for new tools,” Chan elaborated.

Dubai introduces Digital City Project

6 April 2011, The Gulf Today 

Dubai Municipality (DM) has introduced its Digital City Project (DCP), which it claims will help the Emirate’s residents to avail the civic body’s services easier, faster and in a more transparent manner, through this quick response (QR) code system.
The platform to provide services to the public through electronic modes is with an aim to save their time, money and effort as communications are made easier and information is exchanged more rapidly. 
The DCP will enable the public with electronic tools to request a range of DM services including building plan permit, adding land transaction with sale, renewal of survey maps of allotted plots, building demarcation and permit renewal, permit for décor work and temporary use of plot.
A DM spokesperson elaborated that request for new registration of local consultant or contractor, changing contractor or consultant after issuing building permit, and request for permanent connection with sewage network can also be made through the digital city project.
Hussein Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality (DM) said that the new service will help user to easily access municipality services to know the plot number, data on the owner, plan use of land, building permit details, building and planning violations issued against the plot and health and safety violations against food and health establishments.
"Also, inspection visit programmes planned for a building, checking the periodicity of field visits actually carried out on building, in addition to the follow-up of visits programme implemented by the supervision engineers of the sites under construction can be accomplished," he added.
“The user can also check the results of the last field visit on the building, staff register of food preparation and public health establishments and their commitment to occupational health standards, follow-up the preventive maintenance visits carried out on irrigation pump network in the Emirate,” he added.
“The system also enables the owner to know the violations and the remarks issued on his land, view the new advertisements and directives of Dubai Municipality, as well as review and get a copy of the procedures for obtaining Municipality services and the required documents. User can even participate in the evaluation of satisfaction level with services provided at the different sites where municipality services are delivered,” Lootah said.
The QR service applications are aimed at improving services and applying the best electronic technologies to ensure effectiveness of its operations and procedures. It will link all the DM services with a single system, providing a number and QR code for each building in the Emirate.
“Users of iPhone and Blackberry can take advantage of QR technology by downloading applications and installing a Mobile-tag to their hand sets. The users can take a photo of the QR code of any required service and a copy of the procedures for obtaining the service will be downloaded on the phone directly,” Lootah added.
“The QR Code is an encrypted column that can be read using mobile phones. The code stores phone numbers, URLs, e-mail addresses and any other alphanumeric data, with a capacity of storing up to 4,296 characters or digits,” he pointed out.
“By using a mobile device with a built-in camera and a tag reader, the user can access any site address of land without using the keyboard. The QR Code can be used in several ways for numerous uses. Instead of typing phone numbers you need only to pass the mobile on the QR Code to save it in your device, in addition to many other usages which certainly will benefit the user,” elaborated the official.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unified patient registry system for UAE hospitals

The electronic linking system Wareed will integrate medical records across the country

2 April 2011, The Gulf Today

The second phase of inter-and-intra hospital connectivity and information sharing system "Wareed," was implemented last week by the Ministry of Health (MoH) within public sector hospitals.
The new hospital information mechanism will automate and integrate healthcare processes and medical records across all 15 public sector hospitals, 68 affiliate clinics and 18 other medical facilities in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
The "one patient, one registry" "Wareed" will also connect different departments within each health facility, resulting in an efficient and accessible method of monitoring patient health through a shared database and ensuring effective medical practices with the support of advanced technologies.
Once fully implemented, "Wareed" will be a single platform to source and share patient database, treatment history, information of disease and progress reports, as the system simultaneously networks hospitals and departments within them, health officials indicated.
Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, UAE Minister of Health said the system would enormously impact patient care in the country, eliminating existing hurdles in their path to gain access to health facilities. This is because the system enables their visits after fixing appointments over telephone or text messages.
"The ministry will set up call centres for the management of consultation appointments through the system, which in turn would ease patient traffic, once 'Wareed' is operational," he added while addressing the media.
Dr Hassan assured the new mechanism would help guarantee higher level of safety to patients and eliminate medical errors, malpractices or medical negligence. The system would resolve complaints, 70 per cent of them received from the patients, about lack of transparency.
Dr Salem Al Darmaki, acting  undersecretary at the MoH, said, "'Wareed' is already operational at Sheikh Khelifa Hospital and Mushairaf Health Centre in Ajman, since the project was implemented at the centres during its primary phase in 2009.
"During the second phase, the mechanism was fully applied at Kuwait Hospital in Sharjah recently, electronically linking the emergency, registration and appointment sections of the facility," he added.
"The MoH also has completed implementing the project at Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah, and is currently training employees on the system. Other health centres in the Emirate also are preparing to install the electronic system during this second phase," elaborated Dr Al Darmaki.
According to him, the final phase of "Wareed" would be completed by the end of this year.
"Sheikh Khelifa Hospital in Ajman achieved 100 per cent application of the project covering all services. So far, about 150,000 medical files have been archived."
"The system, hosted centrally at a new data centre facility in Abu Dhabi, will connect all hospitals through an advanced network infrastructure," Dr Al Darmaki concluded.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Inspectors rescue 11 Hawksbill turtles on Dubai shores

1 April 2011, The Gulf Today

A pack of juvenile Hawksbill turtles trapped in heavy sea waste on the shores of Dubai was rescued recently by the marine inspectors of Dubai Municipality (DM).
When the inspectors found the 11 young aquatic species, sized three to five inches and weighing 50 to 150 grams, they were suffering from malnutrition as they had been covered by different types of sea waste materials with their movement hindered.

Mohammed AbdulRahman Hassan, head of the marine environment and wildlife section at the DM, said the highly migratory species of turtles will be released back into their habitat, after carrying out necessary scientific tests on them and providing with required rehabilitation at a specialised centre in the emirate.
“The Hawksbill sea turtles travel through the oceans of the world frequently and this migratory behaviour has made it harder for policymakers to make laws to stop hunting them,” he added.
“It is quite hard to enforce the law to save the hawksbill turtles. As they migrate often, they have become shared resources among nations. If one country makes law to save the hawksbill sea turtles another country hunts them. This situation has given poachers the chance to hunt and trade them, resulting in their rapid extinction”, pointed out Hassan.
He urged fishermen and beachgoers to strictly adhere to the civic body’s environment protection regulations, so as to preserve this threatened marine species. We should be aware of our environment and its elements.
“Nesting places of the turtles on beaches should not be exposed or destructed. We want the people to report such incidents in order to send them back to their natural habitat,” he said.
“Many animal organisations are trying to take initiatives to save these beautiful creatures, as their migratory behaviour has made them more vulnerable. But all their moves are not being successful due to many reasons, due to the lack of human awareness,” he pointed out.
“The hawksbill sea turtles are being protected by different international laws and treaties. They have been enlisted in Appendix I of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) which has made any kind of trade of this species illegal,” Hasssan elaborated.
“The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the hawksbill turtles as critically endangered species. The Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) has also enlisted them in Appendices I and II to protect them,” he added.
According to him, all these regulations and treaties would not be able to save the hawksbill sea turtles until and unless these are enforced properly. “It’s not always possible due to many deficiencies. However, we have many other things to do to save this species. Awareness should be raised to keep the ecological balance.”
(Pic: Supplied)