Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid in UAE: How Abu Dhabi’s health platform is supporting vaccination drive

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on May 19, 2021

UAE capital tops an independent global survey that assessed the Covid-19 response on over 50 parameters.

The response of Abu Dhabi, the seat of the country’s capital, has been exemplary in rising to the Covid-19 pandemic challenge.

Abu Dhabi topped an independent survey conducted by London-based Deep Knowledge Group, which assessed the Covid-19 response of cities around the world on the basis of over 50 parameters, including vaccination and testing rates.

Abu Dhabi led the world on the back of a robust and rapid response that helped protect the health and safety of its community members.

Malaffi, the region’s first Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform and one of the key initiatives of the Department of Health (DoH) – Abu Dhabi, has been an integral part of the emirate’s pandemic response. Connecting electronic medical records to centralise information about patients, the platform created a database of Covid-19 test results in the emirate.

Data showed a staggering 29,401,060 million (m) tests have been conducted to date.

As part of the National Vaccination Programme, Malaffi enables frontline healthcare workers and health authorities to manage patient vaccination data within Abu Dhabi, which ensures that eligible patients are administered proper doses at the right time across the UAE’s biggest emirate.

"We’re seeing good progress on a daily basis. Vaccination programmes are a challenge to manage but having Malaffi’s health information exchange technology in place is a significant enabler of the success of vaccination in the UAE. We can look at overall vaccination rates at an emirate-wide level and monitor different indicators over time, which provides insights for the capacity planning, and at a patient’s level, we can record adverse reactions and check for any contraindications such as allergies. This makes the process more efficient and further improves safety," said Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector.

There are three main ways in which Malaffi is supporting the vaccination campaign such as centralising vaccine information from points of vaccination; confirming eligibility for vaccination; and monitoring and reporting adverse events.

Through a dedicated vaccination module, Malaffi is collecting and sharing vaccination information at more than 100 facilities in Abu Dhabi that are part of the vaccination programme. “Due to the vaccination information being centralised in Malaffi, the DoH and the government have real-time insights about the Emirate's vaccination status. Having access to this information enables the authorities to generate operational reports, plan the vaccination capacities, streamline the logistics and the vaccine supply chain, and inform public outreach programmes. Healthcare professionals in Abu Dhabi have access to the Covid-19 vaccination information in Malaffi, which improves clinical decision making and the efficiency of the vaccination programme. In the near future, healthcare professionals will be able to see other immunisation data for patients – beyond the Covid-19 vaccine – easily within Malaffi,” the organisation said in a statement.

Eligibility for vaccination

Having access to the Malaffi vaccines information enables medical staff at the point of vaccination to establish the status of patients, verifying whether they have been part of any vaccination trial or whether they have been administered the jab. “To enhance safety, medical staff --- at the point of care --- can also check the medical history of the patient and identify any possible contraindications to receiving the vaccine, such as allergies. Access to these sources empowers informed decision-making and greatly improves the safety of the vaccination efforts,” it added.

Monitoring and reporting of adverse events

To help the Abu Dhabi authorities monitor the safety, any vaccine side effect noted at the point of care by the clinicians in their electronic health records will be centralised through Malaffi.

“Looking towards the future, with the digital infrastructure provided by Malaffi, including the recently launched population risk management platform, the DoH will have a much clearer picture of the prevalence of chronic diseases or other conditions within the emirate that put patients at greater risk of developing severe illness. This information can be used to enhance its current outreach efforts to those individuals and prioritise vaccine distribution accordingly.

The information available in Malaffi and its population risk management tools will also contribute significantly to any advanced systems tailored for syndromic and pandemic surveillance and response. Such systems will be of the utmost value for early alerts and increased readiness to handle any potential future outbreak for the local and global population's safety, ensuring Abu Dhabi remains at the forefront of public health,” the group added.

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