Digital Health

Arab Health 2022: UAE opens new digital front in fighting epidemics

hana with sphere at arab health 2022 in dubai on monday-1643016042953
Hamda Al Blooshi, administrator at Ministry of Health and Prevention, at the ministry’s pavilion at Arab Health 2022 in Dubai on Monday Image Credit: Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary/Gulf News

Dubai: As the world’s latest medical innovations went on show in Dubai on Monday, the opening day of the three-day Arab Health 2022 exhibition and conference, the UAE unveiled a new system in the early detection, contact tracing, and management of epidemics.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) launched veiled ‘Sphere’ and the ‘Digital Epidemiological Control Centre (DECC)’. With its focus on COVID-19 management and keeping the population safe, MOHAP has empowered itself with these digital tools to tackle the current and any future public health crises.

To start with, all data pertaining to the pandemic situation would be the first to be monitored. However the new systems will be used to keep a close watch on all infectious diseases and track immunisation programmes, among other tasks.

What is Sphere?

Providing information on Sphere (Surveillance of Public Health, Electronic Records and Early Warning), Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, Head of Public Health at MOHAP, told Gulf News: “Sphere is an integrated electronic system for early warning and follow-up on events impacting public health. If an infectious disease occurs, Sphere will notify the relevant health authorities in government and private sectors, creating an integrated database on the occurrence, treatment, management of cases as well as contact tracing.”

She added: “Sphere is meant to create an integrated record from all health entities to be able to have integrated action on surveillance management and control of the disease.”

Control centre

Early detection of epidemics and infectious diseases using Artificial Intelligence and taking action to predict, prevent and mitigate the disease will be done by the newly launched DECC division. DECC has smart prediction tools, which are already being deployed by the US Centre for Disease Control, World Health Organisation (WHO) and by Malaysia, said Hamda Al Blooshi, administrator at MOHAP .

“The centre will collate 1.4 million data points on demographics, population density, disease outbreak, vaccination concentration, contact tracing , treatment and other records. By using vast data, the DECC will effectively work to use predictive tools to prevent the spread of infectious disease in UAE,” she added.


Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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