Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) regulation department recently held a meeting with principals of all schools in Dubai to discuss school health guidelines and policies which need to be implemented for the new academic year.
Several medical care criteria were highlighted during the meeting including the importance of school health policies, the minimum ratio of medical staff to students, first aid facilities, and vaccination schedules.
A recent case wherein a school medical team was instrumental in saving the life of a six-year-old boy at one of the GEMS schools in Dubai was also discussed as health authorities sought to highlight the importance of medical staff and first aid facilities at schools.
Amal Ali Al Mehrezi, head of school health and education institutions at the Health Regulation Department of DHA, explained that medical equipment such as a mobile cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) units and trained staff would help enhance emergency care across schools.
Amal said that school immunisation guidelines also stipulate the mandatory ratio of medical professionals to students. “This ratio is important because it ensures adequate medical professionals are present in schools,” she said.
Setting out the guidelines, she said schools with less than 1,000 children on their rolls are required to have one full-time nurse and one part-time doctor. Schools which have less than 2,000 children are required to have two full-time doctors and one full-time nurse, and schools that have more than 2,000 children are required to have two full-time nurses for every 1,000 students and two full-time doctors.
DHA deputy director-general Khalid Al Shaikh Mubarak said the DHA drew up a set of guidelines in consultation with all stakeholders including the Ministry of Health and other authorities. “School health policies are essential to ensure every child is protected and that the school environment is safe for them,” he said.
The DHA has also recommended certain free vaccines for students in the 15-18 age group, said Dr Ramadan Ebrahim, director of regulation at DHA. “Parents can decide whether they would like their children to receive these vaccines at school or not,” he said. Schools would be required to keep track of the exact number of vaccines needed and follow accurate storage guidelines, he added.
Dr Ebrahim added that the DHA plans to introduce an online system which will allow school authorities to post their queries to DHA officials and get instant feedback. Workshops that will help educate parents and school staff on school health policies are also among the DHA’s future plans.