The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) recently held a symposium to discuss the prevalence of diseases among primary healthcare patients.
Details of prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma etc., highlights of the Authority’s smoking-cessation initiatives, details of child health services such as immunizations, percentage of infants who are breastfed until the age of six months, percentage of diseases in new-born children, outcome of home visits for elderly citizens and the percentage of osteoporosis in the elderly population that visit DHA health centres were discussed.
The Authority also established a breast cancer screening services for eligible females as a means to ensure early detection and management.
Services regarding chronic diseases:
The average blood glucose control HbA1c in patients under treatment at DHA primary healthcare centres was recorded to be 7.4 as opposed to 7.6 recorded during the previous years and the percentage of HbA1C <7 has reached 50 per cent which is higher than the international level of control in comparison to other countries.
The percentage of people who have quit smoking has increased to 16.9 per cent as opposed to 14 per cent in 2014. Internationally the quitting rate is between 10 to 20 per cent. The level of control among asthma patients following treatment at primary healthcare centres has increased to 67.4 per cent as opposed to 45 per cent in 2014.
Child Health Services:
The DHA incorporated in co-operation with the Ministry of Health tests to detect the prevalence of beta Thalassemia in Emirati children less than one years of age.
A total of 2174 children have been tested since the start of the program and 156 were carrier cases who received counselling. Children below two years of age are tested as well for Iron deficiency/ anaemia to ensure early detection and management to avoid any cognitive and growth development of children during their growth years. Eighty-one per cent of cases were normal, and treatment was provided to the remaining patients with haemoglobin less than 10.5.
Immunization is given to all children living in the Emirate of Dubai and regular follow-ups via phone message and phone calls are done to ensure parents bring their children for regular immunizations. The percentage of immunization cover has reached 96 per cent which is considered as high cover.
DHA’s primary healthcare sector’s child health services started early screening for Autism since July 2014 through an internationally accepted questionnaire. Since the start of the program 23 cases have been detected and referred to hospitals for early intervention to reduce any delay and further deterioration of the cases.
Since 2012, a new immunization service has started for immunocompromised patients who have been undergoing chemotherapy or any have other immunodeficiency and so far patients are referred from hospital and 75 patients have been managed so far. The immuno-deficiency clinic provides treatment for several diseases of the immune system. Sixty-two patients visited this clinic all where referred from DHA hospitals.
Neo-natal screening program:
Since 2003, in cooperation with Ministry of Health, DHA has been focussing on providing neonatal screening services for new-born children. Yearly more than 10,000 children are tested.
Early detection of breast cancer using mammograms:
Early detection of breast cancer in primary health care centres began in August 2014. Nad Al Hammar and Al Barsha PHCs provide these services. Until December 2014, the two PHC centres screened 107 Emirati and 24 expatriates. Two per cent of these women had abnormal findings and they were referred to the breast surgery clinic for treatment and management.
Since 2005, the DHA is highly focussed on premarital testing prior to issuing marriage certificates in Dubai. The test is mandatory for everyone in Dubai – locals and expatriates. A total of 10492 tests were conducted in 2013 and 2014, of these 17 haemoglobin related diseases were counselled and managed according to DHA protocols.
Elderly home-care programme:
In 2011, the DHA launched a home-care programme to visit elderly patients in the comfort of their homes. Three hundred and fifty one elderly patients were registered in this program until December 2014. In 2014, the DHA conducted a random study on its home-care elderly patients. The study showed that 78.7 percent of the patients require constant care, of them 22 per cent were totally dependent on caregivers. Of all patients in this program, 96 per cent were treated at their homes, while 4 per cent were transferred to a hospital.
Of all the people who visited the osteoporosis clinic in 2014, 33 per cent patients had osteoporosis and the remaining patients had bone mass deficiency. At the end of the symposium, DHA presented awards to PHC centres that have achieved a high success rate in tackling these chronic diseases.