UAE : Young New Mother Succumbs to Swin Flue in Dubai

New mother succumbs to swine flu

DUBAI - AUG 31: A young woman has died of swine flu three weeks after doctors delivered her baby by caesarean section because of H1N1 virus complications.

The Pakistani woman arrived at Dubai Hospital on August 8 suffering severe respiratory problems, a source within the hospital said yesterday. She was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. She was admitted to the intensive care unit and later sent to the labour ward so doctors could deliver her baby.

Officials said she was the second H1N1 fatality in the UAE; the first was a 63-year-old Indian man who died two weeks ago.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has repeatedly put pregnant women high on its list of those most at risk of suffering severe or fatal complications because of the virus.

It is understood the woman had previously visited another hospital and was advised to take Tamiflu, the antiviral drug often used to treat the virus, but refused because she was concerned about its potential impact on her unborn baby.

“She came in very late and unfortunately she was very sick,” the source said. “After delivering the baby, who is fine, we put her on a ventilator and had to heavily sedate her. Anyone who is in a high-risk group and has even the slightest symptom must come into a hospital. I would put pregnant women on the top of this list. This case shows why.”

The new mother was not able to see her baby before she died at the weekend. The sex of the baby has not been disclosed.

Data released this week by the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance provided more evidence that pregnancy is one of the most serious risk factors related to H1N1. The study found that 10 per cent of more than 500 patients who had died from the virus since the start of the outbreak were pregnant or had recently given birth.

The WHO recently issued guidelines on the use of antivirals and the management of patients with the H1N1 virus.

The document said oseltamivir, the active ingredient in Tamiflu, could significantly reduce the risk of pneumonia, a leading cause of death in influenza cases.

It advised that patients who had an underlying condition should be given the antiviral as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms, without waiting for test results.

“As pregnant women are included among groups at increased risk,” the guidelines said, “WHO recommends that pregnant women receive antiviral treatment as soon as possible after symptom onset.”

The source at Dubai Hospital said the hospital had recently changed its policy on admitting suspected swine flu cases.

“This lady had not been out the country or knowingly in contact with anyone with the virus. We no longer ask people about their travel history. It wastes time and it is too late – the virus is already here.”

The hospital receives about 50 suspected cases every day and 10 or 11 of these test positive, the source added.

“People in high-risk groups must listen to the message. As soon as you get symptoms, visit a hospital. You will be admitted and treated.”

Changes to Metro put cost up by Dh12bn

Work continues on the Financial Centre Metro station in Dubai. Jeff topping / The National

DUBAI - AUG 31: The cost of building Dubai’s rail network is expected to have increased by 75 per cent above original estimates by the time the Green Line opens next summer.

Transport officials estimate the cost of the two lines for the Dubai Metro will climb from Dh16 billion (US$4.4bn) to Dh28bn by June.

Mattar al Tayer, the chairman of the board and executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority, also revealed yesterday that the Green Line’s completion date will be pushed back three months, and that only 10 of the 29 stations on the Red Line will open next week.

The 75 per cent increase in the estimated cost comes from changes to the original plan, including extra stations, depots and track extensions, Mr al Tayer said.

Among the changes:

A 4.5km extension from the junction of Dubai Airport to Emirates Road, with extra stations and a new depot;

A station at the Mall of the Emirates, added to the Red Line;

An extra four kilometres added to the Green Line at Jadaff, including an extra station.

Mr al Tayer said the stations’ design had changed dramatically, and the footbridges were also very different from the original concept.

He said financing for the Metro was not a concern, however, as the project had several sources of income in the RTA.

“We are a very powerful authority. The finance of the Metro is guaranteed by the Dubai Government and until now we have been paying on time,” he said.

Mr al Tayer said the RTA was not waiting for extra finance to finish the project.

“I can assure you we pay on time,” he said.

Describing the payment process, he said: “The contractor submits payment to the consultant. The consultant then submits the payment to the Rail Agency, who forward it to the contract department and finance department, who approve it.

“It is then sent to the [Dubai] Government’s finance department, they give us the cheque and we pay the money.”

He played down the issue of disputes over payments to contractors, saying such questions were not unusual on such huge projects.

“There are claims from the contractors because they had done additional work. This is normal and we have appointed an international consultant [to investigate the claims].”

Dearer food arrives with Ramadan

ABU DHABI - AUG - 31: Average food prices in the capital increased in the first week of Ramadan, part of a broader increase in which the cost of some items surged by more than 17 per cent in the past month, according to an official report.

The price of some staples rose by an average of 0.4 per cent in the first seven days of Ramadan, according to the report, issued yesterday by the Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi (SCAD).

It noted a rise of 1.5 per cent in the cost of bread and cereals in the seven days, 0.4 per cent in fruit juices, and 1.5 per cent in sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery. However, meat and seafood prices were down 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively.

But the price changes for August overall are more striking. The price of fish and other seafood increased by 5.2 per cent; pulses and dry grains were up by more than 17 per cent; and sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery by almost 16 per cent.

Some shoppers stocking up on staples for iftar meals have noticed the increases. Mohamed al Za’abi, 43, an Emirati government worker, said more should be done to prevent companies raising food prices.

“There has to be an increase in oversight on them,” he said. “The authorities should take action.”

The report is part of a weekly briefing that tracks changes in the SCAD’s Food Price Index.

The increases have also come despite a campaign by the Ministry of Economy to control prices throughout Ramadan.

Two weeks ago, the ministry said it would organise spot checks by inspectors to curb price increases during the holy month, when families traditionally gather for meals, and would try to raise consumer awareness about food prices. Mr al Za’abi said he tried to shop more often at co-operatives because prices in some of the larger supermarket chains, especially during Ramadan, were “excessive”.

A ministry initiative launched in 2006 allowed consumers to buy bundles of essential goods for a low price during Ramadan. The Government said that packages that include flour, milk, oil, rice, sugar, dates and water should cost around Dh150 (US$40).

The consumer protection department at the ministry could not be reached for comment on the increases noted by SCAD.

Um Khalid, a Sudanese translator who was shopping at the Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society yesterday, said she had not noticed changes in prices since Ramadan began but complained that food staples were already priced too high.

“At the moment, the prices of dates for example, are not reasonable, especially in the holy month,” she said. “Things are already expensive.”

Wiam Mohamed, a Palestinian housewife, said that her husband usually did the shopping but that she had noticed a difference in their Ramadan shopping costs.

“The last time, I was shocked at the bill. I didn’t think we bought so much stuff,” she said.

Others said shopping behaviour meant the impact would be more pronounced for those people who bought a lot during Ramadan.

“Ramadan is the same every year; we just get what we need. If there’s a change, it’s a change of 50 fils or 75 fils usually.

But if someone is used to buying a lot of things for Ramadan, they will notice a change,” said Um Adnan, a Bahraini housewife living in the UAE. She said that with the exception of fruits, foodstuffs did not seem to be more expensive overall.

“What I noticed here, the fruits are really expensive in Ramadan. Apricots will increase from Dh18 for a kilo to Dh25 or Dh30,” she said. “And if you buy, the top is good and the bottom is small or not good.

“Are you only supposed to buy one or two pieces? What if you have a family?”


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