Dubai: Time is running out for certain categories of expat workers to get themselves vaccinated against hepatitis B.
According to a 2010 cabinet decision all expatriates working as nannies, housekeepers, nursery and kindergarten supervisors, salon workers, beauty and health clubs as well as nutrition workers need to get themselves vaccinated.
The vaccinations are to be done in three doses with the first dose taken at the time of medical checkup before stamping the visa, the next after a month of the first dose and the final after six months of dose two.
Dr Mahmoud Fikri, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Policies at the Ministry of Health, said that the decision has been implemented calling all categories who finished their first dose to complete the other doses and avoid fines.
The decision is applicable to all the workers from the said categories who got their visas after October 2010.
Al Fikri added that workers will have to get themselves vaccinated before going for visa renewal.
The vaccinations can be done at the preventive medicine departments of the Ministry’s hospitals. Once vaccinated the applicants will receive a certificate that must be kept and presented at the time of renewing the residency visa beginning October.
Dr Fikri explained that the certificates will include full details of the applicant including the vaccination dates and his health condition.
The decision is part of the ministry’s national strategy to prevent the disease among all categories and age levels.
The strategy includes introduction of primary lab tests at an early age and providing vaccinations for all age groups.
Ministry is also hosting a series of health awareness campaigns to promote hygiene among the communities and to create awareness about the prevention.
The prevention measures include early screening and detection of the disease, premarital tests, health and fitness tests for job applicants, regular tests for school and university students etc.
If not detected and treated early the disease may lead to developed cirrhosis in the liver tissues in addition to other complications such as liver cancer or liver failure.
According to estimates of World Health Organisation around 170 million people world wide suffer from Hepatitis B and C, while around 1.5 million people die of theses diseases every year.
July 28 is World Hepatitis Awareness Day.