The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has recently issued a warning to UAE nationals and residents about traveling to Madagascar, following the country’s report of an alarming increase of cases of pneumonia. The Ministry also encouraged those who need to travel to Madagascar to take extra precautionary measures during their trip, which include maintaining close coordination with key agencies like the Dubai Health Authority, Health Authority - Abu Dhabi and General Civil Aviation Authority.
Dr. Fatima Al-Attar, Vice-President of the National Committee for International Health Regulations and the Control of Pandemics, confirmed the absence of infected cases in the country and that the Ministry will soon issue a circular for health workers covering essential information on the pulmonary disease--including standard definition of cases, diagnosis, isolation procedures, prevention of infection, treatment and follow-up of surrounding people.
MOHAP is calling on all travelers wishing to travel to visit the Ministry’s Traveler Health Clinics and health authorities throughout the country to learn more about the latest developments in the world, including Madagascar, for medical advice, vaccines and preventive and curative services.
Dr. Fatima also pointed out that the Ministry is currently working in close cooperation with the Dubai Health Authority, Health Authority - Abu Dhabi and General Civil Aviation Authority for the preparation of awareness leaflets that can be distributed during the flights by civil aviation to those coming from the concerned countries—highlighting information and advice on the disease, its symptoms and how to obtain medical treatment. The treatment of these cases is provided free of charge if they occur. She also highlighted the role of Traveler Health Clinics in the provision of health advice and safety requirements when traveling to Madagascar and the strengthening of shipyard and rodent control procedures, particularly in ships coming from these affected areas.
Al Attar explained that the health authorities in Madagascar have developed a system to prevent the spread of the disease globally by examining the departures from Madagascar, including the examination of temperature and patient history. In case a passenger is suspected of exhibiting symptoms of the disease, the patient will be prevented from traveling and will be provided with an immediate treatment of antibiotics. The awareness effort also looks towards giving people surrounding by an infected person with preventive treatments to ensure non-contamination. She also stated that there are no direct flights between the UAE and Madagascar, except through indirect flights via domestic and international airlines through Kenya and Ethiopia.
Al-Attar stressed that health security and risk prevention and pandemics is a national priority in the UAE and Falls in line with its strategy to protect society from diseases through strengthening the international health regulations and applying them in the UAE.
She added that the Ministry will remain steadfast in its commitment to be abreast of global developments and committed to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise and promote the level of health of individuals, prevent the spread of diseases and provide comprehensive medical services.