Bahrain’s sickle cell patients to get ID cards
Manama, August 25, 2010
Sickle cell patients in Bahrain will soon have special identity cards to help them get preferential treatment at health centres.
The move is part of efforts to help patients get better and prompt services in the country, said Health Ministry primary care medical services deputy head Dr Najah Khalil.
"Very often, they go to health centres and are treated like any other patient, which is not right," she said. "The move will make it more convenient for them to be identified as special patients and get immediate treatment."
Dr Khalil said the cards would list their names and other details as well as their condition type and the kind of illness they suffer from.
"The cards will also include other information such as their medical history and any allergic reactions to drugs.
"Even when not in a health centre, if these patients need urgent care at times, it will be easy to identify their needs when required," Dr Khalil said.
She met yesterday the ministry's primary care resources and services support president Hussein Samak and Bahrain Society for Sickle Cell Anaemia Patient Care chairman Zakareya Ebrahim Al Kadhem to discuss the decision.
The meeting also discussed other problems faced by sickle cell patients, particularly with regard to lack of facilities at the Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) and shortage of beds.
Officials agreed to have dedicated staff for sickle cell patients at health centres who would be trained to handle sudden bouts of the disease.
"These staff will be available in the morning and evening shifts," said Dr Khalil.
Twenty-two sickle cell patients have died in Bahrain so far this year, many allegedly falling victim to a critical shortage of beds at the SMC and negligence.
The ministry announced last April that the SMC would soon have a new BD2.5 million sickle cell and genetic diseases centre.
The project is part of a host of new facilities, including a critical care unit, modern central pharmacy, an expanded morgue and a police station.
Work has started on the 90-bed centre, which will have its own entrance and exit as well as a dedicated emergency room. It is due to be finished within two years.
The centre will have a 25-bed emergency room on the ground floor, with wards for children, men and women on the first, second and third floors. – TradeArabia News Service