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29 February 2024

Poisoning cases nearly double in the UAE

Reported poisoning cases jumped from 60 in 2009 to 119 last year (FILE)

By Staff

The number of poisoning cases in the UAE nearly doubled last year and children under the age of four constituted half of them.

Reported poisoning cases jumped from 60 in 2009 to 119 last year and there were five cases of death, The National said.

All the hospitals in Abu Dhabi have been asked to maintain stock of at least 15 different antidotes to poison after a survey revealed that nearly 90 per cent of hospitals in capital don’t have enough stocks of poison antidote. Only 10 per cent of them maintained adequate stock of 12 essential antidotes.

"We did a two-part survey with hospitals and emergency departments in 2009 where we examined the 12 essential antidotes. We found that many hospitals did not have guidelines on how to use antidotes," said Dr Yasser Sharif, section head of Medication and Medical Product Safety and head of the Poison and Drug Information Centre.

Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (Haad) is working with private and government hospitals to ensure adequate stocks of poison antidote. Under the new guidelines emergency units of all hospitals will be required to have at least enough antidotes to treat a 70kg, adult patient for 24 hours after admission for poisoning.
This will be applicable from June 2011, the daily said.

"We are mandating that if a poisoned patient is admitted, they have to stabilise the patient before transfer to another hospital. They will be legally liable if there is a death," Dr Sharif added.

He said a new strategy has been devised where each hospital will sign agreement with three others to ensure effective sharing of poison antidotes.