Dr Sherbaz Bichu, CEO and Consultant Anaesthetist, Aster Hospitals, UAE talks about the medical institution’s successful bid to become Covid-free
Tell us something about the conversion of Aster Hospital to a non-Covid-19 facility? Why was this step taken?
Aster Hospital, Mankhool had a floor dedicated to accommodate Covid-19 patients at the start of the pandemic in close cooperation with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). Now that the cases have dramatically reduced in number as well as severity, the requirement for Covid-19 beds has gone down. It is risky to have Covid-19 negative and positive cases in the same facility. Therefore, we decided that we would make Aster Hospital, Mankhool Covid-free.
Are you finding people in need of healthcare still reluctant to visit the hospital for fear of contracting the virus?
The anxiety of people to visit the facility where Covid-19 patients are being treated is quite understandable. We want to reassure them by making Aster Hospital, Mankhool Covid-19 free and give them the normal services that we use to provide before the pandemic days.
What are the safety precautions in place at the hospital?
The first thing that we did was to transfer all the Covid-19 positive cases to our other facilities. We fumigated and cleaned the hospital, prepared the facility ensuring safe distancing in patient waiting areas, robust sanitisation and screening of new patients coming at the entrance to ensure that suspected Covid-19 patients would be diverted away from the hospital. This plan was submitted to the DHA who inspected our facility and accepted the changes that we have made. We now have confirmation from DHA that Aster Hospital, Mankhool is Covid-free. In future any suspected Covid cases would be redirected to our other facility in Sonapur.
Have you completely stopped admitting people with symptoms of Covid-19?
Yes, we are no longer admitting patients with Covid-19 or even suspected Covid cases in our Mankhool facility. They are taken to our exclusive Covid facility in Sonapur.
What role will digital technology play as hospitals adapt to the ‘new normal’ in terms of operating a hospital, once the current crisis has passed?
We were one of the first institutions who started teleconsultations. The practices that were started during this crisis would still continue. Moreover, unlike other times, patients with chronic conditions related to nephrology, renal, diabetes, hypertension, etc, are at high risk and it is important to protect their health by avoiding hospital visits. This is the new way forward even in non-Covid times.
What changes has Aster Hospital made to include patients whose immunity is compromised?
Since Aster Hospital, Mankhool is a Covidfree hospital, we can safely accept high-risk patients like immuno-compromised patients. We strictly continue to implement and practice all safety measures, including cleaning, disinfection, fumigation, social distancing, handwashing and the monitoring of crowds to keep the facility Covid-free.
Aster Hospitals, UAE
Branches: Al Mankhool, Al Qusais, Jebel Ali, Muhaisnah (Sonapur)
04 440 0500