Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Health (MoH) along with Health Authority Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Health Authority has initiated a national educational campaign against swine flu under the slogan, "You care, we care, and the world cares."

"There are no deadlines for the campaign," said Dr Khodr Awad, Health Education Consultant for the campaign at the MoH.

"Our ultimate goal is to educate the public regarding to what to do upon arrival at the airport if a person develops flu-like symptoms within seven days; namely fever, a running nose, cough, vomiting, diarrhoea, and/or muscle and eye pain."

Even though there are no local transmissions of swine flu reported in the UAE, the MoH and other health authorities are closely monitoring individuals arriving from abroad with fever scanners and thermal imaging equipment at the airport.

The MoH is currently working on a strategy for swine flu prevention and has already identified a team of medical experts to answer questions in malls across the country.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the spread of swine flu has become a global pandemic. Cases have now been confirmed in 75 countries, and the illness has caused deaths in nine countries including Mexico, the United States, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom.

"We have already distributed information on swine flu to students going to universities abroad and will be developing a video to put up in airport departure halls for travellers to understand more about swine flu prevention," said Dr Awad.

"We don't want people to panic. We want them to get used to hearing more about swine flu." According to a spokesperson from the MoH, passport control and customs officials across UAE airports will be offered an educational awareness course regarding the disease. Health educators will also be offered a two-day workshop this week.

"We don't want any misconceptions or exaggeration with regard to swine flu," the official said.

"That's why it's very important that all topics, precautionary measures and educational campaigns are reported accurately by health educators and the media."

Malls where swine flu educational brochures can be found include Deira City Centre, Dubai; Sahara Mall, Sharjah; City Centre, Ajman; LuLu Centre in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK); Al Hamra Mall in RAK; Lulu Centre in Umm Al Quwain and Lulu Centre in Fujairah.

Tips on how to travel safely

Abu Dhabi: Health Authority Abu Dhabi has provided UAE residents with travel advice concerning swine flu.

Before you travel:

- Avoid all non-essential travel to areas that have confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu.

- Get up-to-date information on the status of swine flu at your intended destination.

While you are abroad:

- Make sure you adhere to all prevention habits.

- Limit direct contact with the public, especially those who appear to have flu symptoms.

- Follow precautionary instructions provided at the destination.

- Maintain contact with your family and friends in the UAE.

- Visit www.haad.ae/swine-flu to keep regularly updated.

- Contact the nearest UAE embassy or consulate if you suspect you are infected.

After your return:

-Closely monitor your health for seven days.

- Limit your interaction with people for seven days.

If you develop symptoms:

- Visit the nearest clinic or primary healthcare centre.

- Inform the doctor of your symptoms and where you travelled.

- Follow the prevention advice until the doctor confirms you are not a swine flu case.

How aware are you of the symptoms of swine flu? What would you like to know about the disease? Do you have any suggestions to control its spread?

Your comments

It would be a good thing if free masks and disposable hand gloves are provided in public places such as airports and shopping malls.
Sandra Aloysious
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 22, 2009, 15:59

Yes, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE. I would say World Health Organisation (WHO).should give a FREE vaccine to all the peoples.
Posted: June 22, 2009, 13:55

I feel, the swine flu can be effectively controlled, if the authorities track / scan the passengers / travelers at the embarkation point. And if they identify any trace of flue or the influenza (H1N1), the passenger should be quarantined at health post of embarking port rather than allow boarding the vessel / aircraft.
Faisal Ali
Posted: June 22, 2009, 12:45

As Ramadan is comming and lot of people will be going for UMRAH where chances are more to get infected, If the vaccine is available I think MOH should make it compulsary to get Vaccined like Manangites Vaccine to apply for Umrah Visa.
Khalid Sultan
Posted: June 22, 2009, 11:21