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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kuwait free of swine flu: MoH

KUWAIT CITY (Agencies): The Ministry of Health has tested, since last Wednesday, 4,000 people who flew in from countries with swine flu disease in compliance with World Health Organization’s (WHO) instructions.
“Kuwait is free of swine flu,” Dr Yusuf Mandakar, deputy director of the public health department at the ministry, told KUNA.
He said a medical team was stationed in Kuwait International Airport to examine the passengers entering Kuwait.
Mandakar noted that the ministry has distributed leaflets to inform people about swine flu, and has told doctors in public and private sectors on how to deal with infected cases.
The Ministry of Health is reported to have procured 10 thermal cameras at KD 140,000. The cameras, which are expected to arrive in the country by next week, will be installed at the air, land and sea entry points to screen passengers arriving in the country for the H1N1 flu, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily.
The daily quoted sources as saying the cameras can detect the temperature of arriving passengers without the need for them to queue. “The equipment is totally different from thermometer, which requires the presence of the medical personnel, to save time and effort,” the sources explained.
The sources stressed non-availability of a local agent for the items has delayed the procurement.
Meanwhile, Director of the Contagious Diseases Hospital Dr. Jamal Al-Duaij has announced the hospital is ready to handle any case of the H1N1 flu, adding newly inaugurated wards have been committed to such cases.
He said two out of every three wards are for men while the remaining one is for women. The wards have private and general rooms with 76 beds, 10 doctors and 57 nurses.
“The hospital can even handle pandemics since it is the major preventive center in the country,” the Medical Director assured.
Kuwaiti students abroad are safe from swine flu, confirmed Minister of Education and Higher Education Nouriya Al-Sabeeh, who said Monday she had personally made phonecalls to Kuwaiti cultural bureaus in three countries.
In a statement to KUNA, she said that the cultural attaches of the US, France and Australia, have each assured her of the wellbeing of Kuwaiti students currently living in these countries, in light of the recent outbreak of the deadly swine flu virus.
The cultural bureaus are in touch constantly with the ministry over the matter, mentioned Al-Sabeeh.
The bureaus have been in touch with authorities in their respected countries, and are also on standby to offer any support to students, she added.
The Executive Office of the Arab Health Minister’s Council kicked off an emergency meeting in Riyadh Tuesday to discuss the recent spread of the swine flu virus (A/N1H1).
Office Chairman Saudi Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabiaa in his opening address said the aim was to unify and coordinate measures and exchange expertise to fend off the spread of the disease in the Arab region.
He said the world faces a real concern with 21 countries already with confirmed cases and over 1,000 people infected, mostly in Mexico.
Assistant Arab League Secretary General for Social Affairs Ambassador Sima Bahhout said Arab states must act firmly and quickly to protect Arab citizens.
She added preventative and precautionary measures must be considered carefully and exchange of information and expertise be boosted through support and cooperation with national disease control centers, also urging more training of Arab staff.
The training, she further explained, must involve healthcare providers, those in media, in the fields of agriculture and live stock, and the field of education and awareness.
Cooperation between state and civil community bodies was vital, she stressed.
The executive council of Health ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is meanwhile due to meet here on Wednesday, also on swine flu concerns.
Kuwait’s Health Assistant Undersecretary for medical support services affairs Dr. Yousef Al-Nisif will be taking part in the two-day meeting.

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