Hospitals lack poison antidotes, survey finds



Dubai // Every hospital in Abu Dhabi has been ordered to stock at least 15 different antidotes to poison after a survey found that only 10 per cent of hospitals had adequate reserves.

By June the new standard will require hospital emergency units to have at least enough antidote to treat a 70kg adult for 24 hours after admission for poisoning.

Reported poisoning cases almost doubled from 60 in 2009 to 119 last year, and there were five cases of death due to poisoning in the UAE in 2010. Children under the age of four constituted nearly half of all poison cases.

The survey showed only ten per cent of hospitals in Abu Dhabi had adequate stock of the universally accepted 12 essential antidotes that should be available in all emergency units.

In response, the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) introduced the Antidote Stocks Standards in Healthcare Facilities.

"We did a two-part survey with hospitals and emergency departments in 2009 where we examined the 12 essential antidotes," said Dr Yasser Sharif, section head of Medication and Medical Product Safety and head of the Poison and Drug Information Centre.

"We found that many hospitals did not have guidelines on how to use antidotes."

Dr Sharif said they also found many hospitals did not have a sharing plan with other hospitals to cope with stock shortages.

Under the new rules, each hospital will sign an agreement with three other hospitals to ensure effective sharing.

"We created the antidote lists from international guidelines, then we sat with our stakeholders, in both public and private hospitals in Abu Dhabi," Dr Sharif said. "Based on their feedback, we formulated our standard."

Internationally, the accepted stock list of antidotes for hospitals includes 12 essentials. HAAD added three to the list.

"The timely use of antidotes is potentially lifesaving, and maintaining a sufficient stock of antidotes is the responsibility of any facility that provides emergency care," Dr Sharif said.

The Antidote Stocks Standard will act as an interim advisory guide for a period of six months and will become mandatory at all HAAD-licensed facilities on June 1.

Hospitals will be required to report their antidote stock level every month. "We want to ensure there is full compliance. They must report to the centre so we can establish effective policies," he said.

"They must have continuous supply of antidotes and replenish their supplies," said Dr Sharif. "If a poisoned patient requires an antidote that is not stocked at a particular hospital, then either the patient must be transferred or the antidote must be obtained from another hospital."

In addition, only a licensed healthcare professional will be allowed to administer the antidote.

Dr Sharif said the standards would apply to all licensed healthcare facilities and emergency departments, but not to medical centres that do not provide emergency care.

"We are mandating that if a poisoned patient is admitted, they have to stabilise the patient before transfer to another hospital. They will be legally liable if there is a death."

Dr Hashem Tarifi, director of the pharmacy at Tawam Hospital, said this effort would ensure all hospitals were synchronised.

"We took a workshop with HAAD and this will undoubtedly lead to improved communication, cohesiveness and functioning," he said. "It means that the antidote is there when you need it and that everybody uses them in a timely manner."

Dr Zuhdi abu Shaaban, a clinical pharmacist at Al Ain hospital, said: "This will help us in planning and we can ensure the emergency services always have the quantity needed, since timing is essential."

Hospitals and healthcare practitioners who want to attend workshops or find out more about the standard list of antidotes are encouraged to contact the HAAD Poison and Drug Information Centre. "We are happy to answer all questions from healthcare professionals and the general public regarding any poison cases," Dr Sharif said.

HAAD Poison and Drug Information Centre can be contacted free on 800-424 from Sunday to Thursday, 7am to 3pm. Alternatively, e-mail pdic www.haad.ae/antidote_stock_standard

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First match: November 20
Final 16 round: December 3 to 6
Quarter-finals: December 9 and 10
Semi-finals: December 13 and 14
Final: December 18

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Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

Why it pays to compare

A comparison of sending Dh20,000 from the UAE using two different routes at the same time - the first direct from a UAE bank to a bank in Germany, and the second from the same UAE bank via an online platform to Germany - found key differences in cost and speed. The transfers were both initiated on January 30.

Route 1: bank transfer

The UAE bank charged Dh152.25 for the Dh20,000 transfer. On top of that, their exchange rate margin added a difference of around Dh415, compared with the mid-market rate.

Total cost: Dh567.25 - around 2.9 per cent of the total amount

Total received: €4,670.30 

Route 2: online platform

The UAE bank’s charge for sending Dh20,000 to a UK dirham-denominated account was Dh2.10. The exchange rate margin cost was Dh60, plus a Dh12 fee.

Total cost: Dh74.10, around 0.4 per cent of the transaction

Total received: €4,756

The UAE bank transfer was far quicker – around two to three working days, while the online platform took around four to five days, but was considerably cheaper. In the online platform transfer, the funds were also exposed to currency risk during the period it took for them to arrive.

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Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

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This healthy little dish (a nice antidote to the khachapuri) is usually made with steamed then chopped cabbage, spinach, beetroot or green beans, combined with walnuts, garlic and herbs to make a vegetable pâté or paste. The mix is then often formed into rounds, chilled in the fridge and topped with pomegranate seeds before being served.

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Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


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Athletics
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Rupert Harrison, a fund manager at BlackRock, sees the risk of it falling to trade level with the dollar on a no-deal Brexit. The view echoes Morgan Stanley’s recent forecast that the currency can plunge toward $1 (Dh3.67) on such an outcome. That isn’t the majority view yet – a Bloomberg survey this month estimated the pound will slide to $1.10 should the UK exit the bloc without an agreement.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Britain will leave the EU on the October 31 deadline with or without an agreement, fuelling concern the nation is headed for a disorderly departure and fanning pessimism toward the pound. Sterling has fallen more than 7 per cent in the past three months, the worst performance among major developed-market currencies.

“The pound is at a much lower level now but I still think a no-deal exit would lead to significant volatility and we could be testing parity on a really bad outcome,” said Mr Harrison, who manages more than $10 billion in assets at BlackRock. “We will see this game of chicken continue through August and that’s likely negative for sterling,” he said about the deadlocked Brexit talks.

The pound fell 0.8 per cent to $1.2033 on Friday, its weakest closing level since the 1980s, after a report on the second quarter showed the UK economy shrank for the first time in six years. The data means it is likely the Bank of England will cut interest rates, according to Mizuho Bank.

The BOE said in November that the currency could fall even below $1 in an analysis on possible worst-case Brexit scenarios. Options-based calculations showed around a 6.4 per cent chance of pound-dollar parity in the next one year, markedly higher than 0.2 per cent in early March when prospects of a no-deal outcome were seemingly off the table.

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  • Do not leave electric scooter in locations that obstruct traffic or pedestrians
  • Solo riders only, no passengers allowed
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