The United Arab Emirates University marks the United Nations’ International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) - Top Universities in Middle East

Today, the United Arab Emirates University observed the United Nations’ International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. This annual event on 27th December serves to remind us that major infectious diseases and epidemics have devastating impacts on human lives and long-term social and economic development.

Dr Ahmed Deemas Al-Suwaidi, Associate Professor and Head of Pediatrics, and Consultant in Pediatric Infections Diseases at the UAEU outlined the contemporary significance of epidemics. He said, “Despite our advanced medical and public health sciences, epidemics such as swine flu, avian influenza, haemorrhagic fever and, more recently, COVID-19 have rapidly spread around the world with severe global impact. These epidemics have led to the paralysis of social norms and activity and the economy”. He explained that “Travel and trade enable the movement of microbes and viruses. Therefore, owing to ease and frequency of transport and displacement of people, animals, and goods, the world has become a ‘global village’”.

He added that moreover, “When bacteria and viruses proliferate, they also transform leading to new genetic mutations. They are also capable of spreading faster than we might imagine. This has dangerous implications for human beings. It is important to bear in mind that an epidemic does not discriminate between developed countries with rich resources and countries with poor infrastructure and few resources.  Therefore it is essential that academic research, commercial laboratories, scientific discussion, and public health education all work together to combat epidemics”.

Dr Al-Suwaidi also added that, “Individuals play an important role. They should adhere to medical instructions including use of available  vaccines and adherence to precautionary measures. If people underestimate the recommended measures their actions may have grave consequences for the lives of other people. In addition, misinformation during the period of the present COVID-19 epidemic is adding to the uncertainty and disruption. The public should rest assured that the academic and scientific communities remain the most reliable sources of accurate information. Their medical, public health, social and economic expertise enables them to address the varied problems of an epidemic”.

The United Arab Emirates University has played a significant scientific role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Al-Suwaidi said, “For example, the UAEU participated in the clinical trials of the Federal Gamalia Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiological Research in the Russian Federation. It also collaborated with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health in a project using artificial intelligence to develop a model to anticipate the expected spread of COVID-19”.

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Dec 27, 2021