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National Committee revises its plan against Bird Flu

posted on 03/02/2006: 1559 views

The Secretariat of the National Committee for Emergency Response to Bird Flu held its 4th meeting to revise its plan and set recommendations to improve it. The meeting, which was held here on Monday was chaired by Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD).

During the meeting, Al Mansouri thanked the Committee members for their constructive feedback on the Plan from the previous meeting and assured them that their recommendations were being taken into consideration during the final revision of the Plan.

Representatives from the UAE Armed Forces, presented their strategy in managing the crisis, which included how and when the Armed Forces would intervene, which would be when and if it reached a pandemic stage. They also submitted the Armed Forces' vision as to how to improve the Plan. They proposed setting up fully equipped field hospitals. The Committee decided to merge the Armed Forces' strategy with the overall Plan to result in a comprehensive plan.

A representative from the Dubai Municipality presented Dubai's mechanism of response to Bird flu if it were to enter the Emirate. The Committee then proceeded to discuss each section separately in the Plan and issued a number of recommendations.

The committees agreed that the Plan needs to be revised in order to highlight each party's role at the different implementation phases. Moreover, emergency drills should be carried out to test readiness.

It recommended that efforts be put forth to have a ministerial decision issued that grants relevant parties the freedom to intervene in case the virus spreads. The committee urged putting issuing a law that sets a mechanism to grant incentives and compensation for those working to combat infectious diseases and in emergency cases.

"It is necessary that the relevant parties in each Emirate define roles and responsibilities and submit an action plan of their emergency response. Due to their readiness to test samples, the UAE Armed Forces' main Chemical laboratory and Sharjah Municipality's laboratory should be considered part of the laboratories to be referred to during a crisis," the committee said.

It also proposed to have mobile incinerators available to serve all emirates and that, according to request from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, GPS technology should be provided by the Secretariat.

The meeting has stressed necessity to determine the quarantine areas in each Emirate, in case of human infections. Schools, found in the infected areas, should be used as quarantine areas so that infected people will not have to be transported through heavily populated areas. Hence, the UAE Ministry of Education should identify these schools.

It also pointed out that universities and colleges should be encouraged to cooperate with those implementing awareness campaigns, especially health authorities, adding that is necessary to determine the structure of each Emergency Crisis Operations Room in each Emirate. This includes members and their roles.

Other recommendations included encouraging involvement of the private sector in the response, ensuring that all parties share the results of the regular surveys and meeting minutes, studying the suggestion to set up a coordination centre for parties with similar roles and to further expand efforts of the health authorities by having a mechanism to coordinate between them. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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