Dubai Health Authority announced on Monday the introduction of the first comprehensive immunisation services policy for the emirate of Dubai.
The policy began to be implemented at the beginning of this year and is applicable for all hospitals and health centers that provide immunisation services.
Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director-General of the DHA, said: "The introduction of this policy will help us achieve uniformity across all parameters of immunisation services in the emirate.”
Laila Al Jassmi, CEO of Health Policy and Strategy at the DHA, said, " With the implementation of this policy, all hospitals and health clinics in the private and government health sector in Dubai will have to follow the same immunisation practices."
She said, "Private clinics will be licensed as Vaccine Qualified Clinics (VQCs) and their functions will be monitored by the DHA Health Regulation according to the Immunisation Guideline."
Al Jassmi said, "All clinics who wish to function as a VQC will have to adhere to guidelines for various processes such as their set-up, staffing structure, storage criteria for vaccines and medicines, emergency supplies. In addition, VQC's will have to ensure that suppliers of vaccines are licensed and follow the required mandated transportation and cold chain storage practices. Clinics will also have to maintain accurate recording of immunisation schedules, they will have to maintain complete record of adverse reactions and reporting system. All clinics and hospitals will have to maintain records of vaccination cards including all EPI recommended vaccines. The clinic will also have to ensure that the clinic is run by well trained as per DHA requirements."
She said to ensure that clinics are following these requirements; the DHA Health Regulation Department will carry out regular inspections.
Dr Ramadan Ibrahim, Director of Health Regulation at the DHA said, "As per the unified policy, firstly, for any clinic or hospital to provide vaccination services in the emirate, they will first have to qualify to be a VQC, once that is established, we will also conduct regular inspections from time-to-time to ensure that the VQC's are following all mandatory rules and regulations."
Dr Aizeldin Ibrahim, Acting director of Public Health and Safety, Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA said that a study highlighted that in Dubai, 28 per cent of the clinics studied were not following the national immunisation schedule, 41 per cent have no reminder system and 48 per cent of the clinics lacked a system to trace defaulters. Sixty four per cent of private healthcare facilities were not reporting adverse events. Periodic reporting to the concerned authorities (Ministry of Health and DHA) was found to be inadequate in 48 per cent of the private facilities.
Eighty three per cent demonstrated high quality immunisation registry system and 88 per cent of the private clinics followed specific policy to maintain cold chain and there was high compliance with regard to regular monitoring of vaccine-storage temperature.
Dr Ibrahim said that the findings of the study highlighted the need to implement a unified policy which will ensure standardised procedures and coordinated efforts are followed by both private and public healthcare facilities in Dubai.
Dr Hisham Al Khatib, Senior Public Health Specialist, Public Health and Safety Department, Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA explained that, applying this policy will ensure that healthcare facilities devise an appropriate way of tracing children who do not show up for their immunisations on the appointed days (tracing defaulters).
Dr Lubna Al Shaali, Public Health Specialist, Health Policy and Strategy Sector at the DHA ,mentioned that the department has formulated a comprehensive immunisation guideline, which is the first of its kind in the country, with the support of healthcare stakeholders.