Bahrain insists health checks before arrival
Manama, June 10, 2012
Bahrain’s health officials have called for foreign workers to undergo compulsory medical checks before they come to Bahrain following an increase in tuberculosis (TB) cases among expatriates.
Experts said more people were being detected with the potentially fatal disease, which affects up to 11 people per 100,000 population.
'This is an old disease and we always encourage expatriates to undergo medical check-up in their home country for detection of TB and other blood diseases,' said Salmaniya Medical Complex consultant chest physician and asthma specialist Dr Saeed Al Saffar.
He warned workers who do not undergo medical check-ups before coming to Bahrain risk being sent home. 'Foreign workers who are detected with TB are deported to their home country,' said Dr Al Saffar.
'This is a health burden choice for the country but the worker can come back provided he or she has a medical certificate stating the individual is free from the disease.'
Dr Al Saffar was speaking on the sidelines of the first Bahrain conference of clinical microbiology and infectious diseases, held at Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa.
The one-day event was jointly organised by the Health Ministry and BDF Hospital, with 200 doctors and medical professionals taking part.
Dr Al Saffar said despite concerns about the TB rate among expatriates, according to the latest figures only three Bahrainis per 100,000 population caught the contagious disease.
TB is caused by bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which usually attacks the lungs, but can also affect the spine, kidneys and brain.
Dr Al Saffar advised people to report to the nearest health centre if they noticed any TB symptoms such as weight loss, excessive coughing or coughing up blood and night fevers among others.
Other topics discussed in the conference, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, were fungal infections and bacteriology patterns in Middle East and in the field of infection control.
'This is the first conference Bahrain is organising that solely focuses on infectious diseases and we plan to hold this event annually in co-operation with the Health Ministry,' said BDF Hospital royal medical services director Major-General Professor Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa. He hailed the success of the event, saying it provided comprehensive and detailed research on latest progress in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases.
Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Aysha Buaneq stressed the importance of exchanging expertise and experience in the field of infectious diseases during the conference.
Organising team member Dr Manaf Al Qahtani, an internist and infectious diseases physician at the BDF Hospital, said participants also learned about community acquired infections in the Gulf region and new diseases.
Internal medicine physicians, general practitioners, surgeons, public health professionals and pharmacists were among the 200 delegates, including experts from Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, who participated. – TradeArabia News Service
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