Dubai: Only private clinics that are licensed as Vaccine Qualified Clinics (VQCs) can administer vaccines and their functions will be monitored by the Dubai Health Authority's (DHA) Health Regulation Department.
This is a part of implementation of the first standardised immunisation services policy that was announced by the DHA on Monday. The policy brings a uniform immunisation reporting and recording system for hospitals and health clinics in both public and private sectors in Dubai.
"The policy stems from DHA's wider aim to improve public health services in the emirate and is in line with the objectives of Dubai Health Strategy 2011 to 2013," said Laila Al Jasmi, CEO of Health Policy and Strategy at the DHA.
"It will ensure that we are able to prevent communicable diseases from spreading. Everyone who lives in the emirate should have the same vaccination. We found we did not have a uniform policy for vaccination. By implementing the new policy we will ensure that everyone follows the same guidelines for vaccination," Laila told Gulf News.
"To monitor the process of administering vaccines across the public and private health sector in the emirate of Dubai, the Public Health and Safety Department and the DHA Health Regulation Department have jointly developed the criteria for provision of vaccination services. Accordingly, private clinics will be licensed as Vaccine Qualified Clinics (VQC) and their functions will be monitored by the DHA health regulation in accordance with the immunisation guideline," she said.
In order to ensure that clinics follow the requirements the DHA Health Regulation Department will carry out regular inspections. While the type of vaccination is in accordance with WHO requirements, a unified policy will ensure that these vaccines and also the time interval between the vaccines are the same for both private and public vaccination providers.
The clinics that wish to function as VQCs will be required to follow the guidelines in terms of their set up, staffing structure, storage of medicines and vaccines, emergency supplies, etc.
The policy was framed after an in-depth study, said Dr Aizeldin Ebrahim, Acting Director of Public Health and Safety, Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA.
Giving details of the study, he said that around 28 per cent of clinics were not following the national immunisation schedule whereas 48 per cent lacked a system to trace defaulters. Almost 64 per cent of the clinics were not reporting adverse events and periodic reporting to the authority concerned was found to be inadequate in case of 48 per cent of private clinics. "There will also be follow-up calls to parents who forget immunisation so as to make sure that no child in Dubai misses vaccination," said Dr Hesham Al Khateeb, Senior Public Health Specialist, Public Health and Safety Department, Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA.
Almost 95 per cent of the children in Dubai are vaccinated and the default rate is only between 3 per cent and 4 per cent, Dr Hesham Al Khateeb, Senior Public Health Specialist, Public Health and Safety Department, Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA, told Gulf News.
"Parents are quite aware. However, we would continue with our efforts to generate further awareness. Also, the clinics and hospitals will call the parents so as to avoid defaults."