Picture for illustrative purposes: acupuncture Image Credit: Pexels

Dubai: All private health facilities in Dubai will be able to resume most of their alternative medical therapies with immediate effect, except for dental and ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) services which continue to fall in the essential or emergency category only. Health care professionals have welcomed this move as this will provide an economic lifeline to most clinics that have been impacted by the clampdown on elective therapies and procedures in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Complementary Medicine therapies to resume

In a circular dated May 11, sent out to all private health facilities in Dubai the Dubai Health Authority announced the resumption of all Complementary and Alternative Medicines(CAM) such as Ayurveda, naturopathy, Greek, Herbal and Chinese medicine, including those involving needles such as acupuncture.

The circular also announced the resumption of physical therapies such as those offered by chiropractors, osteopathy and osteopaths.

Dental and ENT to continue to be limited to emergency and urgent only

However, in case of Dental and ENT services the circular clearly stated: “Visits for ENT and Dental clinics will be limited for emergencies and urgent cases, and according to the assessment of the treating physician, including but not limited to: acute dental pain, severe infections, injuries and trauma, orthodontics, root canals etc.., all other appointments to be postponed where possible, to avoid aerosol generating procedures from dental and ENT treatment for public safety.

A Dubai-based dentist explained that an aerosol affect is created when dentists use high powered devices that require compressed air, such as ultrasonic scalres dental handpeices, high speed instruments used to disnfect a tooth during a root canal treatment. The aersols which are a mixture of the debris of microorganisms from the oral cavity of the patient and tiny droplets of water from the high pressured devices get airborne and remain suspended in air for some time. These aerosols can pose risk of airborne diseases to the clinician, staff and other patients as well. With several studies pointing out the possible airborne transmission of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, any procedure which creates an aersol affect has to be carried out only in emergency and urgent cases.

High level of compliance to sanitsation and hygiene

The activities have been restarted with the caveat that all the medical facilities will continue to observe the current guidelines on maintaining a high standard of industrial sanitasation and hygiene with special focus on patient receptions, operation theatres and elevators and document their daily disinfection operation on a daily basis as per the the protocols set by the Dubai Municipality. All health professionals must adhere to the precautionary measures for preventing spread of infection such as wearing proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) at all times, practising hand hyiene, taking patients in by appointment only, having patients wear masks and gloves and making sure that adequate social distancing is maintained in the facility.

The DHA will subject all facilities to regular rounds of inspection to make sure that there is compliance to all aspects of guidelines and protocols.