As part of the efforts to maintain the status of UAE as a malaria free country and to ensure that malaria will not be re-introduced, the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) opened today a training workshop in Abu Dhabi from to enable laboratory technicians to acquire up to date technical knowledge on malaria microscopy and confidently diagnose the different species of malaria parasites transmitting malaria to humans.
According to HAAD), the regulatory body of the healthcare sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the majority of reported malaria cases by the electronic system in 2011 are over 2000 cases and are mostly from Pakistan, India and Sudan. However, to date there are no local malaria transmission cases in the UAE.
The UAE is certified as a malaria free country by World health organization since 2007.
Malaria is a major global public health problem. An estimated 300-500 million cases and approximately 1 million deaths occur annually (WHO report 2011). Malaria is caused by four distinct protozoan species of the genus plasmodium (P. falciparum, P. Vivax, P. ovale and P. malaria). All species are transmitted by the bite of an infective female Anopheles mosquito. Although malaria can be fatal disease, severe illness and death are largely preventable when a prompt diagnosis is made and proper treatment is administered.
Dr. Ahmed Abdalla, Senior Officer, Communicable Diseases at HAAD said: "the achievement of malaria eradication should not be jeopardized by the re-introduction from areas where the disease continues to be a serious health problem. An accurate diagnosis of malaria parasite will enable the physicians to prescribe the recommended treatment for malaria and prevent complications of malaria and relapse".
"HAAD-Clinical laboratory Standard requires that laboratories diagnosing malaria must have a well-trained certified laboratory technician. Accurate identification of malaria parasite species is the corner stone for the physician to treat malaria according to internationally recommended guidelines," Dr. Ahmed added.
The workshop is in collaboration with the Ministries of Health in UAE and the Sultanate of Oman and HAAD.
All participants in the training will be subjected to a pre-course exam to assess their current knowledge on malaria microscopy. Each participant will have her/his own microscope.
The participant will be guided by trainers to practically identify the characteristics of all malaria parasites and it morphology. Also they will have the knowledge to calculate and estimate the percentage of malaria parasites in the blood of the patient. By the end of the course the participants will be certified as competent in malaria laboratory diagnosis and will be offered a certificate after passing the final exam.