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Inside the self sterilising ambulance Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A new ambulance sterilisation system has been launched to fully and automatically sterilise ambulances operated by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).

The system has been created specifically to transport COVID-19 patients, and can fully sterilise an ambulance within 20 to 30 minutes.

In a statement sent today (May 31), Seha, Abu Dhabi’s public health provider, said the new features will allow more patients to be transported within a set period, and will therefore increase the overall efficiency in treatment delivery. In addition, it eliminates the need for human intervention, thereby reducing the possibility of contamination and secondary infection.

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The new SEHA self sterilising ambulance Image Credit: Supplied

“The Ambulance Sterilisation System was designed and created by an Emirati member of our team. Seha invests heavily into the development and use of the latest technological advancements, whilst empowering employees to innovate new business and medical solutions,” said Dr Marwan Al Kaabi, group deputy chief operating officer at Seha.

In addition to treating COVID-19 patients at its hospitals, Seha is also currently operating multiple COVID-19 screening centres across the country.

Al Kaabi explained that using the new disinfection mechanisms, its ambulances are sterilised with cold-fogging disinfection, which is commonly used for air purification, as well as in hospital quarantines.

“The push-button system is activated as soon as COVID-19 patients leave the ambulance for treatment, requiring only 20-30 seconds at most to complete the process. As a result, the system minimizes the need for longer lead times when preparing ambulances or waiting time needed by third-party contracting services,” Al Kaabi said.

Ahmed Turki Al Mansoori, general services manager at Seha’s Ambulatory Healthcare Services, said ambulances and emergency equipment previously had to be sterilised in a time-consuming process.

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Inside the new SEHA self sterilising ambulance Image Credit: Supplied

“With this innovative technology, an automated pump pulls the steriliser from a tank connected to each ambulance. Afterwards, the system sterilises the equipment and other items within the ambulance using a combination of UVC heat, high concentrations of medical-grade disinfectants and water in the form of a fine mist to ensure all visible or hard to reach surfaces are disinfected. The system has allowed for a cost-effective, speedy, precise and accurate sterilization process for one of our most important assets in our fight against COVID-19,” Al Mansoori said.

The system uses half a gallon of medical-grade disinfectant for every hour of use. In addition, the cold-fogging disinfection feature can spray with a force of up to 80 bars and a flow rate of nine metric liters per minute. Each spray droplet’s size measures 7.3 micrometers or microns in diameter.

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Inside the new SEHA self sterilising ambulance Image Credit: Supplied

In partnership with Abu Dhabi Police, Seha has included its ambulances as part of its readiness and preparedness strategy for combating epidemics, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is also working on ensuring that all regular services such as emergency medical response and management emergency do not get disrupted by equipping all its facilities with advanced technologies to deal with all injuries, especially those most prevalent in Abu Dhabi. Immediate response teams have also introduced stricter infection control measures when responding to emergencies to prevent potential infections to patients.