Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Fight Against Malaria in Fujairah and the UAE

Since 1998 the UAE has been free from malaria transmission so why are there still Malaria Control units in Fujairah city, Dibba, Masafi, Khor Fakkan and Kalba?

The high numbers of expats entering the UAE from countries where malaria is prevalent means that the disease is brought into the Emirates and these people are coming for treatment.

Prevention by Spraying

A variety of measures are currently used to keep the UAE free of malaria. Spraying is one of the major preventative measures. In Fujairah seven men and their drivers undertake weekly spraying of insecticide in more than twenty areas in the emirate.

Water collection areas are potentially the main problem areas for the breeding of the malaria-carrying mosquitoes. 65% of the breeding sites in the UAE are on farms and fewer in wadis which are mostly dry. Construction sites where water supplies are left open to the elements are attractive to mosquitoes.

Larva-Eating Fish

Where mosquitoes are found around a water supply fish are often introduced to eat the larvae and prevent them from developing into fully grown insects. More than 4,000 farms in over 146 localities in the UAE have fish placed in water supplies to eliminate the mosquito larvae.

Fujairah Technician

Mr. Quriakose has just completed 34 years of service as a malaria technician in Fujairah and Sharjah. He says, “I like this job. It has been rewarding to fight against malaria and know that the UAE is now malaria-free.”

Over the years this native of Kerala has spread his time between the different Malaria Centres on the East Coast testing 150-200 people per month. Only 1-2 people turn out to be positive each month, sometimes up to five.

All of the UAE’s East Coast, the Central Area and Ras Al Khaimah were high risk malaria areas until 1982.

Mr. Quriakose said that in his early days in the 1970s he was getting 10-15 positive cases per day in Fujairah and on the UAE’s East Coast.

Those who are tested are usually referred by a clinic and if they are positive they are given medicine and vitamins free of charge.

Success Story

UAE officials are proud of their efforts in fighting malaria and believe their success is due to the effective combination of political commitment, sound scientific and operational planning and the cooperation of the public and private sectors.

This success story has led the UAE to work with GCC neighbours in sharing their strategies to eliminate the transmission of malaria in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula, especially in Yemen.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus—Facebook Page.

Images: The Fujairah Malaria Unit is opposite the Fujairah Tower on the road leading to the Airport; Mr. Quriakose has worked as the malaria laboratory technician in Fujairah and the East Coast for over three decades.

No comments: