Dubai: As COVID-19 patients recover from the virus, they struggle with long-term physical, mental and nutritional deficits that sap their strength and their ability to resume normal life remains suspended or limited for a fairly long time. About 30 per cent of all COVID-19 patients suffer from long-term physical and mental after-effects such as anxiety, fatigue, exhaustion, weakness, sense of isolation, anger apart from debilitating physical complaints. These have been identified by the World Health Organisation ( WHO) as the ‘long-term’ side-effects of COVID-19 that need to be addressed.
Arise, in association with RAK Hospital, has launched the first-ever complimentary COVID-19 Rehabilitation Programme in the UAE, which can be accessed by all residents of UAE. COVID-19 patients from abroad, looking for health resources and guidance, can log in, too, for assistance.
The programme was launched online today and will endeavour to provide medical information via webinars, extend physical therapy, nutrition and mental health services to those who log in to the RAK Hospital website.
Arise is a private sector alliance for disaster-resilient societies, which is a network of private sector entities led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the programme is akin to similar initiatives being undertaken by health authorities globally, such as the National Health Services in the United Kingdom and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States.
‘Terrible fallout of the pandemic’
Elaborating on the programme, Dr Raza Seddiqui, executive director of RAK Hospital, CEO of Arabian Health Care Group and a board member of Arise said: “The fallout of the pandemic has been terrible. More than 119 million people were infected and nearly 2.5 million have perished, which is approximately 2.2 per cent of the global population. However, what is good is that nearly 95 million have recovered. According WHO, COVID-19 patients require a structured rehabilitation programme that can restore their health, strengthen their immunity and optimise their productivity in the community. This exclusive, comprehensive and complimentary online programme provides all the health impetus to the patient, which includes specific health advise, exercise, nutrition and physical rehabilitation guidance so that they can avoid the risk of re-infection and readmission.
The programme also demonstrates to the patients that they are not alone and have the support of the health-care community to guide them out of this crisis. We will request health-care specialists from other institutions to volunteer as well as invite yoga and lifestyle experts so that those who log in get a holistic health advise.”
How will the programme work?
Professor Adrian Kennedy, the chief wellness officer of Arabian Health Care and Lifestyle Management, demonstrated how all the Arise resources have been made available to the online community that is desirous of logging in to the hospital’s website. “Post-COVID, patients can fill up a detailed questionnaire that highlights their specific issues, especially if they suffer from comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity. Once they provide their inputs, the system generates prescriptions tailored to their needs. These range from correct diet and nutrition, daily exercise to build up muscles, breathing exercises to strengthen the respiratory system, stress management guidance, guidance on posture improvement and so on. We will hold two webinars every week, addressed by health-care specialists on health issues such as heart health etc and also post several health tips every week.”
Coming to the aid of the community
Dr Mahmoud Burai, chairman of Arise and senior adviser in the Dubai Government expressed his happiness over the role that this programme could play in community health rehabilitation. “Our aim is to create safe and resilient communities while working towards saving lives. COVID-19 being the biggest disaster of our times, it needed our immediate attention. Therefore, we felt it was necessary for us to work on presenting a solution that can help the communities not only in this country, but worldwide as well. The RAK Hospital team had the required know-how to carry our vision forward, hence the concept is now a reality,” he said.
Creating risk-resilient societies
Dr Tariq Ahmed Nizami, vice-chairman, Arise, and founder and CEO of CEO Clubs Network Worldwide, said: “The need to create risk-resilient societies is inevitable in today’s environment, and by forming the first national Arise last September, we have shown that the UAE is leading the private sector engagement for disaster risk reduction. Arise aims to achieve the outcomes and goals of the Sendai Framework in a transparent and inclusive way that delivers measurable impact and sets the roadmap for other Arab countries.”
Dr Seddiqui added that the programme aimed at involving other members of the health-care community, as well as invite care-givers of the loved ones as volunteers and will attempt to translate all the health resources in as many languages as possible to make it accessible to the multilingual, multinational community across UAE.