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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Medical liability law next month

DUBAI — April 09: The first Medical Liability Law in the UAE, which is expected to be in place next month, will help resolve medical malpractice cases, a senior Ministry of Health (MoH) official informed yesterday.

Dr Saeed Abdullah bin Ishaq, Head of the Central Morbidity and Mortality Committee at the MoH, and the Director of the Quality and Development Department, said the law would be based on international systems followed by the US and Australia. These systems were put in place to detect medical errors in hospitals.

“The upcoming law, a joint effort of the MoH and the Ministry of Justice, will protect both the patients and the medical providers,” Dr Saeed told Khaleej Times.

Dr Saeed said the law would tackle findings based on the complaints received by the Medical Liability Department and the investigations carried out by the department.

“The law will also list 20 such cases of malpractice of which hospitals will have to compulsorily report to the MoH,” he added.  The Liability Law will help pinpoint exact problems, said the official.

“Anyone who has been failed by the country’s health service, will be given justice,” Dr Saed pointed out.

Dr Saeed also noted that the law would address the technical and medical aspects only.

Malpractices in ‘06

DUBAI — The Ministry of Health (MoH) found 13 cases of medical malpractice in its hospitals in 2006, according to Dr Saeed Abdullah bin Ishaq, Head of the Central Morbidity and Mortality Committee at the MoH.

At a workshop held in Sharjah recently, Dr Saeed informed that while the 14 hospitals under the MoH admitted 98,000 patients in 2006, the ministry received 60 such cases where medical malpractices were alleged. Out of these, 13 cases were declared caused by medical malpractice.

Dr Saeed also pointed out that instances of medical negligence were almost negligible in the UAE when compared to the international standards. “We received only 20 complaints in 2005 and investigations found medical malpractices in only six cases,” he noted.

The official also explained that the ministry had taken action against the erring health professionals. “The action is decided on the kind of malpractice. In the serious severe cases, health practitioners have been terminated,” he said.

Around 150 health professionals attended the workshop on “Morbidity and Mortality Reduction Approached by Risk Management and Root Cause Analysis.”


Dubai one of safest places in world: Dhahi

DUBAI — April 09: Dubai Police Chief Lt.-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim has said Dubai is one of the safest places in the world. The crime index in Dubai is one of the lowest and that the major crimes such as murder, kidnap, rape and physical assault represent 0.5 to 1 for each 100,000 population, compared to the world average of 6 to 8 for each 100,000.

His remarks came during a presentation at the 14th annual International Police Executives symposium which opened at Dubai Police headquarters yesterday.

According to him, the murder crimes in the year 2006 reached 1.4 for each 100,000 in Dubai, while the world average is 4 for each 100,000. The forced theft reached 13.6 for each 100,000 while the world average recorded more than 100 crimes for 100,000.

However, the traffic problem  is one of  the greatest security challenges currently facing Dubai, said the Police Chief but the accident rate is also on the decline. The death index for each 100,000 has declined from 38 in the 1970s to 28 in the eighties and 18 in the nineties, he said attributing to strict traffic safety rules in place and the implementation of the black points system in the emirate.

In his paper ‘Urbanisation and Security in Dubai’, Lt.-Gen. Dhahi reviewed the economic growth witnessed in Dubai, the principles of police work, Dubai Police vision and mission and the objective of the Dubai Police strategy.

He pointed out that the number of unidentified crimes in Dubai does not exceed 10 per cent and the police has successfully detected 90 per cent of its total crimes registered.

The Dubai Police have exerted more efforts to educate the staff and enhance the skills of manpower.  Its literacy rate, which was 98 per cent in 1980s, rose to 100 per cent in 2006. The Dubai police has attracted educated staff where as the number of PhD holders reach 80.

Lt.-Gen. Dhahi noted that although we want to live in cities that are free from the threat of drugs, crime and terrorism, urbanisation can put a strain on local government. Social problems, like unemployment, housing, and income inequality, make some neighbourhoods vulnerable to drugs and crime. Indeed, in some major cities law and order has broken down to the extent there is a risk of ‘failing cities’. These dangerous neighbourhoods become even more vulnerable to poverty, drugs, violence and crime.  

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in his speech, said community policing is the key to safer cities. “I urge you to take this opportunity to share good practices with colleagues from around the world in order to prevent crime in your neighbourhoods,” he said.

The symposium which ends on April 12 has attendance of a large spectrum of police commanders and experts from over 40 countries.

The conference will deal with the issue from seven varied angles which are as follows: Critical Security Situations, Urban Security, Security of Novel Urban Expansions, Violence and Urbanisation, Urbanised Crime, Security Services in Urban Areas.


Floating bridge work in final stage 
Intersections to link streets in Deira and Bur Dubai with the bridge are being created

Dubai - April 09: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has begun work to improve roads that will be connected to the floating bridge over the Dubai creek. Work has already started to create intersections that will link the bridge with Bani Yas street on Deira side and Riyadh Street on the Bur Dubai side.
Eng. Maitha Mohammad bin Adai, CEO of Traffic and Roads Agency at RTA, said the construction of the floating bridge, which began late last year, is on course and is scheduled to be completed in July, this year.

The bridge will provide an additional link between Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road and Oud Metha Road from one side and Al Ittihad Road and Deira from the other.  “Although the construction of the bridge began a few months behind schedule, work is progressing normally and we hope it will be ready by July,” said Maitha. The Dh 127 million floating bridge will add to the existing three bridges over the creek and ease the traffic congestion on the existing bridges.

Some of the lanes on the third bridge over the creek, the Business Bay Crossing, were opened last month to traffic and RTA plans to increase the number of creek crossings to six by the end of 2008.
Eng. Nabil Mohamed Saleh, Director of Roads Department at RTA said that the improvement work on the roads and intersections of Bani Yas and Al Riyadh roads includes expanding and upgrading the street intersections and converting existing roundabouts into signalized junctions.  He revealed that an extra Dh 39 million has been added to the floating bridge project to include the expansion of roads leading to Al Maktoum Bridge from Deira and Bur Dubai sides.

This amount will also cover the expansion of Tariq bin Zeyad Street from three lanes to six lanes from Zabeel intersection to Oud Metha Street and seven lanes after the intersection, four lanes of which will be in the direction of Al Maktoum bridge and Rashid Hospital, while the other three will go towards Oud Metha Street. The intersections on Deira side are near Deira City Centre and Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, and the intersections on Bur Dubai side are between Dubai Courts and Creek Park.
The floating bridge will be half-a-kilometre to the south of Al Maktoum Bridge. With six-lanes, it will hold over 6,000 vehicles during peak hours and will help to reduce heavy congestion on Al Maktoum Bridge once its construction is completed.

The rolling segment of the bridge allows the bridge to open and close at intervals of 20 minutes. These opening and closing times will be set in coordination with the authorities regulating the movement of ships and ferries crossing Dubai Creek. Two more bridges one near the Al Shindagha Tunnel and another near the Sheraton Hotel in Deira, will be built at an estimated cost of just over Dh1 billion and will be finalised by the end of 2008.


Labour Ministry to get tough with firms employing illegal workers  

Abu Dhabi - April 09: The Ministry of Labour has completed a study on illegal workers in the country as part of its effort to draw a comprehensive future plan to tackle the chronic issue of absconding workers.It announced that the total number of workers in its database stood at 2,893,721 up to early 2007 from 2,583,997 by the end of 2005, an increase of 309,724 workers.

Obeid Rashid Al Zahmi, Assistant Under Secretary, Labour Ministry, attributed the increase to the high demand for workers by new development projects in the country. Firms sponsoring workers numbered 251,447 by the end of 2006. There were 95,000 firms that have licenses but sponsored no workers.
“Owners of these firms tend to employ illegal workers or holders of visit visas so as to spare themselves the costs of bringing in new workers. The other possibility is that they might have opened these firms, but found no feasibility to operate them,’’ Al Zahmi explained.


Abu Dhabi - Capital’s death toll

Abu Dhabi - April 09: Seventy-six people were killed in traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi over the first quarter of the year, a senior traffic police officer has disclosed. Colonel Gaith Al Za’abi, Director of Traffic Patrols, Abu Dhabi Police, said that the capital and its surroundings reported the highest rate of fatalities with 43 deaths. ‘’There were 19 persons killed by accidents in Al Ain, 14 in the Western region,'’ he noted. He put the number of injuries at 864 with 103 of them serious. The number of people run over by vehicles had risen over previous years with 143 reported in the emirate this year. He said road awareness campaigns would continue.



Dubai - April 09: A Bangladeshi maid left paralysed after being thrown from a Dubai balcony 18 months ago has spoken to 7DAYS about her traumatic ordeal and the long road to recovery. Munni Kulsum, 29, suffered a fractured spine and crushed the bones in both her feet when she was tossed from a third floor apartment balcony in Deira, in November 2005, by five Bangladeshi men who had been trying to force her into prostitution.

The fall left her 85 per cent paralysed and doctors feared she may never walk again. But less than two years later, now living back in Dhaka with her sister, Munni’s progress has been so impressive physiotherapists believe she could be walking within a year.  Speaking from Bangladesh, she said: “I am getting better but I still need more treatment. I am able to stand and believe that if I can find the money for a operation to reconstruct my feet, I will be able to make a full recovery.”

Munni arrived in Dubai in 2004 to work for a Bangladeshi family and had been enjoying a good life in the emirate until November 4, 2005, when she was “kidnapped” by a man she worked with. “One of the men I was working for told me he was taking me to find me my own house”, she remembered. “His friends, all Bangladeshi, were with him.” But when they arrived at the Deira apartment Munni realised she had been tricked. The five men locked her in the room for three days, along with several other girls from India, the Philippines and Indonesia, trying to convince her to work as a prostitute. On November 8, 2005, after refusing to comply with them, they began to beat her. When she screamed the men picked her up and carried her to the balcony. A policeman who attended the scene later told the Dubai Court of First Instance: “They tried to silence her when she screamed, so they threw her off hoping she would die.”  “I don’t recall anything but I was told in hospital I hit a parked car,” Munni remembers. “My back was broken and my legs severely damaged. “I was taken to Al Baraha Hospital by a kind Pakistani man - the owner of the car I fell on.”

Munni spent a year at the Dubai hospital where she underwent several operations. All five men were convicted and sentenced to between 25 and 30 years in jail last year. In August 2006 Munni was deported back to her home village of Jassare, near Dhaka, where the Dhaka Project volunteered to fund her medical bills, food and accommodation. Munni said she is extremely grateful for all the help and medical care she has received in both Bangladesh and Dubai over the past 18 months.Now able to stand and walk small distances with the aid of a crutch, Munni dreams of a final operation to reconstruct her badly damaged feet so she can start her own business.

She said: “If I get better I want to work again. I would love to start my own sewing business.”


Emirates implements new hand-baggage restrictions

DUBAI — April 09: Dubai-based carrier Emirates has begun implementing its new hand-baggage restrictions in order to follow the policies observed by airports and countries that it flies into, a spokesperson has announced.

While the Dubai International Airport (DIA) has not issued any statement on its own hand-baggage restrictions, a source at the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said the policies implemented at the airport comply with the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

According to the Emirates spokesperson, “a number of countries have now implemented the ICAO recommendations for hand-baggage”.

The places which have enforced such policies include Australia, European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Maldives, Mauritius, New Zealand, Pakistan, Seychelles, South Korea, Switzerland and the US.

Under the new policy, passengers can only carry a maximum of 100ml of liquids, aerosols and gels the containers of which should be placed in transparent re-sealable plastic bags with a capacity not exceeding one litre. Such plastic bags should be presented separately for visual examination at the screening point.

Emirates travellers to and from China, India and the Philippines are not allowed any liquids in their hand baggage except for medicines and baby food.  

“Exemptions may be made for medications, baby foods and special dietary requirements. We are taking steps to inform passengers travelling to and from these countries about these measures so that they can plan their travel and duty-free purchases accordingly,” the spokesperson added. 

Meanwhile, other airline sources have said as per the guidelines of the DCA, they continue to accept liquid and gel products as hand-baggage items.

Mohammad Asif Ali, Area Manager of Gulf Air, said they currently do not have any hand-baggage restrictions except for the 32kg per bag policy imposed by DCA.  

James Evans, Country Manager for the UAE and Oman units of Cathay Pacific, agreed with Ali. But he added that Hong Kong, which is their airline’s base, follows a strict hand-baggage policy. “Although passengers can carry liquid and gel items from Dubai, they are prevented from doing the same when transiting in Hong Kong.”



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