SEHA leads healthcare industry efforts to test 335,000 people in Musaffah

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Mohamed Nass - - Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), the UAE’s largest healthcare network, has introduced a new screening facility in Musaffah to further support the National Screening Project, which is designed to facilitate widespread COVID-19 testing.

The new programme has been established in collaboration with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Department of Municipalities and Transport, and the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

The National Screening Project is an initiative launched to test 335,000 residents and employees in the Musaffah area over the next two weeks and increase their awareness of the preventative measures needed to minimize the risk of contracting the virus, as well as what to do if they start experiencing symptoms.

The UAE has completed over one million tests since recording its first case in late January, placing the nation sixth globally in terms of tests administered per country.

This initiative is part of the UAE government’s mission to test as many people as possible and provide the necessary medical care for those who require it. The launch of the National Screening Project plays a critical role in providing easy and convenient testing facilities to Mussafah residents.

Additionally, the initiative also ensures that people have access to trained medical teams and volunteers who speak their languages. The Department of Economic Development has encouraged the private sector to ensure all the employees are tested and there is appropriate awareness on COVID-19. The Department of Municipalities and Transport will be providing free public transport to and from the facilities.

As part of the National Screening Project, SEHA has constructed and will operate a new screening center, which spreads across 3,500 sqm and will increase Abu Dhabi's daily screening capacity by 80 percent. The newly built center has been designed to ensure the comfort and safety of both the visitors and healthcare professionals. Fully air-conditioned to provide maximum comfort as temperatures rise, the center will feature contactless registration, triaging, and swabbing. SEHA nurses will collect swabs from within fully sealed cabins to reduce infection transmission.

The new center will complement the existing healthcare infrastructure available in Musaffah, including the National Screening Center in M42 (near the bazar tent) and the National Screening Center in M1 (Old Mussafah clinic), which have been revamped by SEHA for this project and can receive 7,500 visitors collectively per day.

The National Screening Project will also be supported by two additional facilities managed by Burjeel Hospital in M12 (next to Al Masood) and Capital Health Screening Centre in M12 (in the Al Mazrouei building) with a capacity of 3,500 visitors each per day.

All the screening facilities in the Musaffah area will work together to ensure that all those who present with symptoms, have associated risk factors such as age or chronic diseases, or have come into contact with a confirmed case have quick and easy access to safe testing facilities and world-class, quality care.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, said: "In line with the direction of the UAE’s leadership to protect our community, the Government of Abu Dhabi is coming together to support the healthcare sector and make sure that each and every resident of the UAE has easy access to a safe screening facility. This will swiftly help identify confirmed cases which is critical to lessen the transmission of COVID-19. Expanding testing and ensuring healthcare services are easily available is a key part of our strategy to combat the current public health challenge."

The establishment of the new testing facilities is the latest in a series of strategic initiatives introduced by SEHA as part of the healthcare network’s continuing pivotal role in the nation’s response to COVID-19. The screening centers will be managed by healthcare professionals from across the SEHA network.

To ensure the safety of the visitors and run an efficient process, SEHA has also partnered with Volunteers.ae to bring on-board trained volunteers for on ground and logistical support during the National Mohammed Hawas Al Sadid, CEO, Ambulatory Healthcare Services, said: "The COVID-19 virus poses a high risk of fast transmission and it is essential that we screen as many people as possible to identify those who might have contracted the virus, particularly those who may be asymptomatic. The new screening facilities will strengthen the existing healthcare infrastructure in Abu Dhabi as we all work towards a shared mission; keeping our people safe and stopping the spread of COVID-19."

To efficiently screen as many residents as possible, all visitors to the new screening facilities will be triaged to determine their risk category and identify priority cases for fast track testing.

Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, Chief Operations Officer, Ambulatory Healthcare Services, said: "We are working closely with other testing facilities in Abu Dhabi as well as employers and contractor accommodations to raise awareness and encourage those who reside and work in the Musaffah area to visit screening centers. Keeping all areas of the community safe and quickly identifying positive cases is a national priority, and we are honored to play our part in driving this forward."

The National Screening Project will launch on Thursday April 30 with the goal to screen 335,000 people over the next two weeks. The five screening facilities will be operational from 9:00am to 3:00pm during this time, including during the weekends. In addition to the National Screening Project, SEHA is launching new screening facilities in the Al Dhafra Region and Al Ain to test residents in those areas.

Other initiatives introduced by SEHA in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak include the establishment of three field hospitals in preparedness for a potential influx of confirmed cases, the preparation of Al Rahba Hospital and Al Ain Hospital as facilities to exclusively treat coronavirus and quarantine patients, and the development of a dedicated WhatsApp bot to immediately respond to the community’s coronavirus-related concerns or enquiries.

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