Less TB Stigma Means Less TB

1. Where are we on TB in the UAE for TB day on March 24? (Overview of where we are at, things that have changed or improved etc.)

The UAE Government and DHA has a good system in place for screening, detection and treatment of Tuberculosis cases. In comparison to other Asian Countries, the UAE has a strong health policy to control the spread of Tuberculosis. Due to the continuous influx of the expat community, there is always a need of strict Tuberculosis screening and early detection of positive cases.

2. How is the current situation in UAE?

The current situation in the UAE poses a challenge, since new cases of tuberculosis are being detected even though there is a screening process in place. This is because of the re-activation of latent cases of Tuberculosis and patients’ picking up the condition from their native homeland when they go for vacation.

3. Are there any TB patients being received or treated?

Private set ups in the UAE allows doctors to detect and diagnose new cases of Tuberculosis. After diagnosing, the patients need to be referred to Government Medical Center for treatment and further management.

4. The government has a screening process in place? Is it effective?

DHA and Government Centers have very a good screening process in place and it is effective.

5. Is there is TB registry in the country, if not, is there a need for one?

There is Tuberculosis registry and the DHA keeps upgrading and improving on it. Private Medical Establishments help in this registry by notifying suspected and confirmed cases of Tuberculosis.

DHA has taken a good initiative to treat patients who are affected with Tuberculosis and allow them to work once they are free from it.

6. Any other input that you would like to provide from your experience?

There is still apprehension, taboo and lack of information among residents of UAE regarding Tuberculosis. Health Programs at their work place by DHA and other Government and Private Medical Establishments can help by providing correct information and knowledge regarding Tuberculosis including when to suspect the condition, how to avoid it from spreading and when to go for detection and treatment.

Finally, fear of being deported is the biggest hurdle that stops a patient from coming out and getting himself/herself tested for Tuberculosis.