Double medical tests for Sri Lankan, Indonesian workers

Double medical tests for Sri Lankan, Indonesian workers

Expatriates from Sri Lanka and Indonesia will be required to undergo a double set of medical fitness checkups before being issued a work or residency permit in the UAE from Oct. 1.


Asma Ali Zain

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2011, 12:41 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:54 AM

Those renewing their visas will undergo the tests in the UAE only.

Both countries are part of the first phase of the GCC-wide ‘Expatriates Workforce Check-up Programme’ that the UAE has joined recently. As reported first by Khaleej Times in May, the programme currently covers 10 African and South-East Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Nepal, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The UAE health officials said on Wednesday that expatriates from other countries, included in the GCC programme, will also be part of the project gradually.

The first set of medical tests will be done in Gulf Approved Medical Centres Association (Gamca) centres in their home countries and will test for diseases such as TB, Hepatitis B, leprosy, HIV/AIDS, syphilis and malaria. Some categories of expatriates will also be checked for health issues such as diabetes and pregnancies. The second confirmatory tests will be done upon arrival in the UAE.

Officials said that an estimated 1.7 million workers from these regions enter the GCC each year. “Double-testing will positively affect public health and eliminate diseases brought in,” said Salem Darmaki, Acting Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health. He said the system will help reduce both financial and psychological burdens on expatriates as well.

Dr Mahmoud Fikri, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Policies at the ministry, said: “The decision was taken after a noticeable increase in the number of infectious diseases among certain categories of workers from endemic countries.”

According to a report prepared by the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (HAAD), about 21 per cent of the total categories tested in 2009 had new strains of tuberculosis.

“It is important to test expats in their countries and re-do the test in the UAE so as to minimise expenses incurred on a worker who arrives here with a disease,” added Dr Fikri.

A senior official of the GCC Health Ministers Council said that the UAE was now part of the regional health testing system currently being followed by Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. He said the UAE had thoroughly studied this project in Riyadh. The system has been formulated by the GCC Health Ministers Council and registers over 220 pre-approved health centres in seven Asian countries.

The Executive Board regularly follows up and evaluates the working of these centres. “Besides fearing the arrival of any disease, some workers might not be able to fulfil the tasks assigned to them due to illness,” said Dr Basheer Al Sufiyan, Head of Expat Health Medical Check Up at the Executive Office of the GCC Health Minister Council based in Saudi Arabia.

An expert from the Dubai Health Authority said the programme was implemented due to the high prevalence of migrant workers in the UAE. Dr AizeldinAbdelrahman Elgak Ibrahim, Director of Public Health and Safety Department, Health Policy and Strategy Sector said the programme will ensure that individuals who enter the country are free of infectious diseases.

To rule out fraud, the centres are connected through a computer programme that guarantees secrecy, security and fast data transfer. The system is also connected with embassies and consulates of the GCC countries in those countries and cities.

A centre can be fined up to $6,000 and the license to operate can be revoked if found to be flouting rules and issuing fake certificates.

When you apply for residence/work visa in your country:

· Go for medical examination at a certified health centre in your home country that will issue a medical certificate

· Provide a copy of the certificate and copy of passport to the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labour in the UAE

After getting the visa and on reaching UAE:

· Go to the Preventive Medicine Department at the Ministry of Health and fitness centres to conduct a confirmatory medical exam.

· Take along original passport, original residence/work visa and original health certificate issued by Gamca approved centre and attested by UAE mission in your home country.

When renewing residency/work visa

· Medical examination will be conducted only in UAE at health and fitness centres

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