Dubai Health Authority receives international recognition for coronavirus response action plan - GulfToday

Dubai Health Authority receives international recognition for coronavirus response action plan


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has been recognised at the International Hospital Federation’s Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 Programme for its coronavirus response action plan along with over 100 hospitals from 28 countries.

DHA received the recognition badge after a thorough review of an international review committee consisting of 16 industry experts from the healthcare industry.

The DHA’s Dubai Shield Programme was recognised at the Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 Programme for proactively responding with outstanding and innovative actions in facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, DHA’s hospitals — Rashid and Latifa Hospital for Women and Children were recognised for their outstanding COVID-19 response action plan.

DHA and some private hospitals including Al Zahra, Aster Hospitals and Pharmacies, Medcare, Medcare Women and Children Hospital received the recognition by IHF under the Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 Programme.


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The DHA’s Dubai Shield Programme was a proactive and swift measure implemented as early as January 2020 to swing into quick action to increase capacity, minimise the community spread of COVID-19, maximise testing capacity, chalk-out and procure timely medicines and all needed medical equipment in mass quantities and strategise in terms of isolation facilities and procedures.

Dr Fatma Al Sharaf, Director of the Corporate Quality and Excellence Department at the DHA said that DHA laid the groundwork for an aggressive system to fight the virus as early as January 2020 and it formulated its pioneering Dubai Shield Programme (DSP).

Under the Dubai Shield Programme, DHA successfully increased the city’s testing capacity to 80,000 tests per day. By using prefabricated modular materials, the DHA was able to build new healthcare facilities within just 60 days, whereas such projects would typically take seven months to complete.

The DHA also collaborated with the private sector to increase the number of available isolation beds. Apart from building new facilities, the DHA also converted 89 hotels and non-medical buildings into quarantine & isolation facilities.

The DHA also paid particular attention to ensure that critical care services were not interrupted. It helped hospitals shift smoothly to telemedicine where applicable, but essential services continued to be provided on-site.

A key enabler towards DHA’s continuity of care was the Doctor for Every Citizen (DFEC), which DHA had launched in December 2019. DFRC provides 24/7 medical consultancy services focusing mainly on patients at highest risks of exposure including elderlies, immunity diseases’ & chronic diseases’ patients. Compared to 877 beneficiaries by February 2020, DFEC benefited more than 60,000 patients.

The DHA’s Blood Donation Centre was also successful in maintaining adequate blood supply, creating separate pathways for COVID-19 plasma donations and a new temporary location for COVID-free donations.

Last but not least, the Dubai Shield Programme also implemented a real-time communicable disease management system known as the Hasana Project. Hasana enables an emirate-wide network for reliable, accurate and real-time communicable disease oversight. It provides a unified system that connects public and private healthcare facilities, allowing the authorities to better control and mitigate the spread of diseases.

Dubai is now well-equipped to deal with other communicable diseases in the future. Through the Dubai Shield Programme the city can easily provide long-term care for patients, as well as operate field hospitals and isolation centres even at a short notice. The Hasana project can also be used as a public health oversight program for large-scale events, such as Expo 2020-2021, allowing Dubai to maintain its edge as a global leader in the events industry.

Rashid Hospital was the first hospital in the UAE and in GCC to admit and manage COVID-19 patients. To deal with the influx of patients, the hospital immediately rolled out infection control measures and rapidly increased bed capacity.

Dr Fahad Baslaib, CEO of Rashid Hospital and Consultant Interventional Cardiologist said, "It is an honour for Rashid Hospital to be recognised by the International Hospital Federation (IHF) for our COVID-19 response. Our dedicated team worked tirelessly to prepare for and respond to the impact of the pandemic. Within weeks, we enhanced our bed capacity in the ER from 68 to 158 beds. We also opened 131 new ICU beds for COVID-19 patients and increased the number of beds equipped with a negative pressure system from just 22 to 402 beds. Despite the challenges, we increased staff numbers by hiring 14 new doctors and an additional 320 nurses. We added 786 infusion pumps and 131 ventilators and heart monitors.

"Moreover, to improve patient outcomes, we used progressive oxygen therapy to reduce the need for ventilators. We also established a plasma donation clinic for recovered patients and opened the country’s first specialised COVID-19 clinic dedicated to follow-up recovered patients."

"We are honoured to receive this recognition and we are continuing our dedicated efforts to tackle COVID-19. We also want to extend our gratitude to the community members for supporting us by following precautionary measures and we urge them to continue to follow these measures to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community and health professionals."

Dr Muna Tahlak, CEO of Latifa Hospital for Women and Children said, "Our hospital has long been recognised for its maternity, new-born, and paediatric services. When the pandemic struck, however, we dedicated our services to treat COVID-19 patients and provided full-fledged round-the-clock COVID-19 care for all community members.

The hospital swiftly underwent extensive remodelling of units and reallocation of staff to care for COVID-19 patients. Our staff remained resolute in the face of uncertainty and fear. The sacrifice paid off: the pandemic was controlled across the country, allowing us to resume our normal services. We are honoured to have received this award and this award is for every single staff member in Latifa Hospital who worked tirelessly as we continue to serve patients with utmost dedication."

Dr Tahlak also urged community members to continue to follow all precautionary measures.

The International Hospital Federation Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 Programme is sponsored by the Japanese Red Cross Ashikaga Hospital - Nikken Group and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).


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