As part of the health guidelines issued for schools this year, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has marked out a few vaccines that will be provided free of cost.
These are: the Oral Polio Vaccine( OPV), Diphtheria Pertusis (DP) , measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), tetanus-diphtheria (TD), Hepatitis B vaccine (HBV), and Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), which is a vaccine for tuberculosis.
The free vaccines will be provided to students aged between five and 18.
DHA officials, after meeting with the principals of Dubai schools, has formulated a list of health guidelines for schools that should be enforced during this academic year.
It includes the appointment of medical staff as per the student ratio, vaccination guidelines including free vaccinations, and first aid, among others.
"The parents can choose whether they want their children to receive these vaccines at school or not. And, the schools are told to keep a check on the exact number of vaccines needed, its administration and appropriate storage," elaborated Dr Ramadan Ibrahim, Director of Regulation at DHA.
"School health policies are essential to ensure every child is protected and that the school environment is safe for them," added Khalid Al Sheikh Mubarak, Deputy Director-General of DHA.
"The aim is to ensure all schools follow uniform guidelines which are in line with international standards."
The DHA will also monitor the appointment of medical staff. "Schools that have more than 2,000 children are required to have two full-time nurses for every 1,000 students and two full-time doctors," explained Amal Ali Almehrezi, Head of School Health & Education Institutions, Health Regulation Department said at the DHA.
There's also plans to introduce mobile CPR units in every school. "It is not compulsory but it will enhance the way in which emergency care is administered. We encourage all schools to understand the working of this equipment and then decide whether it adds to their line of emergency care."
Dr Ibrahim added that they plan to organise workshops for parents and school staff to ensure that both stakeholders are regularly educated on school health policies.
The move was applauded by most parents, who felt it's the step in the right direction.
"Vaccines are expensive, and if DHA is offering them for free, then it's great," added Indira Singh, who is parent to two school-going children.
"Such health guidelines will only make the environment more secure for our children."
Another parent insisted that the DHA must also look into the functioning of school canteens. "They should regulate the kind of food served in the canteens. Often, we find the standards very low."
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