The United Arab Emirates represents a worldwide model in protecting workers during the pandemic of COVID-19. Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), in collaboration with local authorities, has introduced a new screening facility and medical centers in industrial areas, such as Musaffah, to further support the National Screening Project to facilitate extensive COVID-19 testing.
The National Screening Project is an initiative launched to test 335,000 residents and employees in the Musaffah area and increase their awareness of the preventative measures needed to minimize the risk of contracting the virus, as well as what to do if they start experiencing symptoms. To protect migrant workers, the initiative also ensures that they have access to trained medical teams and volunteers who speak their languages.
All the screening facilities in the Musaffah area work together to ensure that all those who present symptoms, have associated risk factors such as age or chronic diseases, or have come into contact with a confirmed case have quick and easy access to safe testing facilities and world-class, quality care. According to the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, ADDED, these services are free of charge and available to everyone, including those who violate the residency regulations.
Other initiatives, introduced by UAE in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, include the establishment of mobile clinics that examine residents and workers in their areas, and three field hospitals in readiness for a potential influx of confirmed cases, the establishment of Al Rahba Hospital and Al Ain Hospital as facilities to exclusively treat coronavirus and quarantine patients, and the development of a dedicated WhatsApp bot, to immediately respond to the community’s coronavirus-related concerns or inquiries.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the Emirates have invested great efforts to make everyone feel like at home and to make sure that local communities and workers know the risks, the preventive procedures and the services available, by sending text messages on their phones and instructions in all languages. Institutional sites and major public interest activities have also been translated into 14 languages.
Workers living in Abu Dhabi are also set to benefit from a range of in-kind contributions coordinated by the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an’s ‘Together We Are Good’ programme. UAE authorities announced on Wednesday meals will be provided to workers during Ramadan, thanks to Ma’an’s ‘Together We Share’ initiative launched this week. The programme will provide nutritious meals to workers across 35 complexes in Abu Dhabi.
In addition, Ma’an will organise the distribution of 6,410 blankets generously provided by Etihad Airways, as well as thousands of boxes of tissues for workers living in Workers Residential City in Mussafah and a complex in Hameem. Four fully kitted-out caravans will also be provided for use as office space to enable staff to adhere to social distancing measures more easily. The gift bags include hygiene kits, towels and other items that will improve workers’ morale. The products supplied by Fine Hygienic Holding will benefit 15,000 labour workers in Mussafah and 9,000 labour workers in Hameem.
30.000 medical masks manufactured by inmates have been distributed to workers and healthcare facilities in the UAE. This initiative was launched to mark the ‘Zayed Day for Humanitarian Action’ and to contribute to the ongoing efforts aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. The masks, manufactured as per the highest international standards and specifications of the Ministry of Health and Prevention, were produced as part of the Interior Ministry’s rehabilitation programmes, to the workers in industrial areas.
Workers in the UAE have access in their phones to free entertainment applications, including switch TV to watch programs, series and movies. Local authorities provided free TV screens to workers in industrial areas to protect their mental health during the curfew. Many online initiatives were also launched during the pandemic, such as series of live streaming concerts with Bait Al Oud, Instagram photo contests, virtual tours of museums, festivals, natural and heritage attractions in the Country.