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Ministry warns against not following H1N1 directives

posted on 05/08/2009: 1543 views



The National Supervisory Committee for Combating Swine Flu (H1N1) said legal measures will be taken against government and private hospitals and clinics that do not abide by the Ministry of Health's regulations and directives in dealing with the disease.

A source at the Committee told Gulf News that violations include neglecting patients with any swine flu symptoms such as high fever, dizziness, breathing difficulty and continuous vomiting.

The source said that the committee received a number of complaints of negligence by clinics and hospitals. The committee is going to intensify its inspections to uncover violations. Sources told Gulf News that some complaints were made against a number of private hospitals and clinics because they did not take matters seriously when some H1N1 symptoms were present in a patient.

This is considered a clear violation of the rules of the Federal Law No 270 for the year 1981 in the prevention of contagious diseases.

Medical sources also said some private clinics have failed to report some swine flu infections to authorities. There were swine flu cases in government hospitals where infected people had visited private clinics with the symptoms, but were not identified.

Ministry of Health sources told Gulf News that inspection teams have been put together to monitor and inspect private clinics and hospitals, especially after reports that some private medical establishments were selling Tamiflu, a medicine used to treat swine flu, for high prices, on the misleading and false assumption of a shortage in this medicine.

The source also added that people have complained that some private clinics have told infected people that their health insurance did not cover swine flu treatment. All these assumptions are false and are considered as a violation to the law.

The Ministry of Health warned all health facilities and establishments against such activities and violations of the law.

The ministry also urged anyone subjected to such violations not to hesitate reporting the incident to the committee and ministry for action.

On punitive procedures that could be taken against establishments, a source said, the committee will take severe measures which may even mean closing down and taking away licenses if there was evidence that a private or government health establishment violated the law.

The source also denied allegations that there are more than 200 swine flu cases in the country, adding that until Monday, there were just 120 swine flu cases, 65 of whom have already been discharged from hospitals after receiving treatment. About 55 people are currently under treatment and all cases are said to be stable.

Abu Dhabi Dr Ali Bin Shakar, Director General, Ministry of Health, commended the cooperation of all government sectors with the National Supervisory Committee for Combating Swine Flu (H1N1). Dr. Bin Shakar told Gulf News that without this cooperation the committee would not have been able to carry out its tasks with success.

He also added that violations that have taken place so far were few. He added that in these cases, the Minister of Health in accordance with law No 270 for 1981 has the right to punish violators through fines, close premises, or put a work ban in the UAE.

Dr. Bin Shakar said that this warning was a reminder from time to time to the effect that there are laws and regulations that have to be followed in relation to combating swine flu. Violating any of these rules will be dealt with severely, he added. He said everyone must be rest assured that there are committees following up the arrival of anti-swine flu vaccines when the World Health Organisation (WHO) releases them.

The vaccine, he said, are expected to be released in September, but the delivery might be delayed because of unexpected reasons. He concluded that the vaccine batch ordered by the UAE is sufficient to cover the requirements of the country. – Gulf News

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