Health broadcast

Healthcare Broadcast

  • It’s summer in UAE: Here are the ways to keep yourself safe


    Doctors advise residents to make some lifestyle changes and avoid outside activities during mid-day


    The world’s coolest winter is now officially over — time to pull out the hats, umbrellas and sunglasses. Earlier this week, temperatures in the garden city of Al Ain hit 47.3 degrees Celsius, a clear sign that the UAE summer is here.


    Now that the sweltering summer is here, health experts in the UAE have warned of the many diseases that pose a threat during this period. Residents are urged to take precautions.


    “Heat stroke, sun burns, dehydration, headaches and dizziness, food poisoning, chicken pox, measles, mumps, typhoid, skin infections are the common diseases that people should be wary of,” said Dr Shilpa Murthy, general practitioner at Aster Clinic, Arabian Ranches.


    Some routines will also have to change as outdoor activities should be avoided between 11am and 5pm, the doctors said.


    When out and about, people must watch for fatigue and dizziness, which are often the early signs of heat-related illness, said Dr Remesan Gopalan, internal medicine specialist at NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain.


    “Early symptoms include feeling of fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps and vomiting. (If these are felt) one should promptly resort to a cool place and hydrate. If they still display symptoms, they should seek medical care in order to prevent further complications like renal failure, seizures and more serious disseminated intravascular coagulation,” Dr Gopalan said.


    Doctors’ top advice is hydration: Drink a lot of water throughout the day.


    “Focus on drinking water, not less than one and half litres per day. Keep your skin moisturised and clean all day, cover face and neck from direct sunlight exposure by using summer hats or sunblock creams with SPF not less than 50 written on the pack,” said Dr Rasha Alani, family medicine specialist, at Medcare Medical Centre—Al Khawaneej.


    Dr Ayesha Khalid, family medicine consultant at Burjeel Medical Centre, Al Zeina, also suggested a good diet of fruits and vegetables, which is rich in vitamins and electrolytes.


    “To avoid dehydration, make sure that you have a well-balanced diet with fruits and vegetables so that you are getting all vitamins and electrolytes. If you are going to do any physical exertion or exercise, you make up for that by drinking more fluids and electrolytes,” Dr Khalid said.


    Residents should also be wary of sudden changes in temperature when going out from a cool indoor environment.


    “Make sure that your air conditioner is not so cool that when you go out, it’s suddenly very hot. There should not be a sudden change in the temperature,” she explained.


    Contrary to popular perception, Dr Rasha Alani said staying indoors is not the answer as the body does need the right amount of sunlight.


    “Benefits of sunlight exposure should not be neglected because of hot weather, especially vitamin D, which usually decreases in patients during the summer season,” she said.


    How you can beat the heat


    > At home


    Put wet towels or cool packs on your arms or neck or put your feet in cool water


    Take cool showers or baths


    Minimise physical activity, do all household chores early in the morning when it is coolest


    > Stepping out:


    Wear light-coloured, loose fitting clothes made from natural fibres like cotton


    Make use of shaded areas for rest in between


    Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, use an umbrella and wear sunglasses


    Avoid being outdoors between 11am and 5pm


    Make use of shaded areas for rest in between


    Go to swim between 7am to 10am or after 4pm


    Don’t leave pets or children in closed cars.


  • UAE will have digital hospitals in post-pandemic era

    Consensus emerges about the roadmap in the first Middle East Digital Health Forum.


    Technology will continue to play a crucial role in the healthcare space in the UAE in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era and the country could well see the emergence of digital hospitals in the future, said Ali Juma AlAjme, Director, Digital Health Department, Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) at the first Middle East Digital Health Forum hosted by in Dubai on Thursday (May 27).


    “Big data has played a key role in helping health authorities in the UAE manage the Covid-19 pandemic. In the future, we expect to have digital hospitals, and people utilise telemedicine solutions more frequently. We expect doctors and patients to have a more engaging relationship because of the utilisation of digital health solutions,” said AlAjme, adding that the country has the infrastructure to offer the best healthcare services.


    This is in line with the UAE government’s ICT Strategy 2021 and National Innovation Strategy that focuses on the bid to develop into a fully digitally enabled nation. Besides, a key part of UAE Vision 2021 is the adoption of cloud computing to accelerate positive change, and this is being reflected in the healthcare space too. “The UAE has cloud-based services available for all healthcare service providers. Any company engaged in this sector can have access to cloud-based solutions through the two telecommunication companies,” added AlAjme.


    There are two laws that apply to all players offering healthcare services in the UAE. “The first is the Health ICT Law that governs the use of technology in healthcare. And the second law states the clinical processes and procedures for anyone who is building the system for telemedicine,” said AlAjme.


    The Health ICT Law was enacted in the UAE in May 2019 and introduced some noteworthy guidelines around the collection, processing, and transfer of health data within the UAE. This is applicable to healthcare providers, medical insurance companies, healthcare IT providers, and firms involved in direct and/or indirect services to the healthcare sector across the UAE. The idea is to protect health data in line with international best practices.


    The availability of IT infrastructure and expertise in the healthcare sector has been instrumental in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in the UAE. “Decisions around the distribution of vaccination, opening up of field hospitals, setting up of isolation sites were all based on actual data. We have exhibited efficiency on several fronts because we have been working towards digitalisation,” added AlAjme.


    Last year, MoHAP had launched Tatmeen, a new track-and-trace digital platform to secure healthcare supply chains. The platform helps to track pharmaceutical products through their journey in the supply chain, promoting trust and transparency, and also keep a check on the use and supply of counterfeit or expired medical supplies and unauthorised products.


    MoHaP also reengineered its Shefaa digital platform and recently launched it with more features that make access to medical services and records easier. “We have integrated 65 platforms to this app and connected more than 200 fitness devices (such as fit bit, iHleath, and other medical gadgets approved by the US’s Federal Drug Administration),” said AlAjme.


    The future of healthcare in the UAE will be driven by technology and appears to be a growing mantra.


  • UAE programme to make cancer treatment affordable


    It will support patients who cannot cover the full cost of therapy due to limited insurance coverage.


    A new programme is set to make cancer immunotherapy affordable for patients in the UAE, the authorities announced on Thursday.


    The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with global pharmaceutical company MSD to develop a programme called AWN.


    To be implemented in collaboration with licensed charities in the country, the AWN programme will cater to the needs of cancer patients who need to undergo immunotherapy, a type of biological therapy that helps one’s immune system fight the big C.


    As part of the agreement, MSD will support patients who cannot cover the full cost of the treatment due to limited or lack of health insurance coverage. They will be provided with vials of an immunotherapeutic agent, a humanised monoclonal antibody (an antibody made by cloning a unique white blood cell) that helps fight cancer. This immunotherapy is used for the treatment of different cancers, such as classical Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and other types of solid tumours. The treatment is sometimes given alone or combined with other anti-cancer therapies.


    Ashraf Malak, managing director of MSD, GCC, said: “In our mission to provide cancer patients more ways to treat their cancer and enable a better quality of life, we are proud to widen their access to cancer immunotherapy through AWN programme. The programme will help improve health equity, providing everyone an opportunity to receive the highest standard of care and attain good quality of life. By supporting programmes like these, we are working to transform the delivery of cancer care and solving social and environmental barriers to care. Our team is constantly exploring ways to help the greatest number of cancer patients across a broad range of tumour types.”


    The AWN programme is being implemented in accordance with policies and recommendations of Mohap for all approved and future-approved indications of the immunotherapeutic agent in the UAE.