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UAE: First free online Covid rehab to help long-haulers

Dubai - Programme promises to help patients with long-term symptoms.

(Reuters file photo used for illustrative purpose)
(Reuters file photo used for illustrative purpose)

By Saman Haziq

Published: Mon 15 Mar 2021, 7:20 PM

Last updated: Tue 16 Mar 2021, 6:47 AM

A free Covid rehabilitation programme — which will help patients recover and manage long-term effects — was launched in the UAE on Monday.

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The online programme — the first of its kind in the Middle East — was introduced by Arise UAE, an initiative of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, in association with RAK Hospital.

Globally, around 30 per cent of Covid patients experience long-term, debilitating after-effects of the disease, hampering their ability to perform even the simplest daily tasks. Symptoms have been reported to continue for three to nine months.

Patients who got severely sick or had been hospitalised due to Covid were found to be most prone to such effects. However, a few instances show asymptomatic patients being affected, too. The most common lingering symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, cough or abdominal pain.

Through the programme, Covid patients will instantly get an overall health ‘prescription’ from a team of multidisciplinary experts at Arabian Wellness and Lifestyle Management, RAK Hospital’s wellness division. Their symptoms will be assessed through a comprehensive questionnaire.

“Although information on Covid is available online, it is scattered and fragmented. For the first time, we offer one structured programme, or I can say a one-stop shop where Covid patients can log in and get solution to most of their problems,” said Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director of RAK Hospital.

“People simply need to log onto www.rakhospitalrehab.com to register for the programme where they will undergo an online health scan, after which they will receive a health prescription tailored to their situation.

“Additionally, there will be weekly webinars focused on guiding patients on various relevant issues they faced. Physical appointments can also be booked by the individuals, should there be any such need. Nothing like this exists at the moment…Ours is the only initiative providing an integrated and holistic approach to Covid recovery and rehabilitation, offered complimentary to all recovering patients.”

The programme begins as soon as a patient recovers, he added. “We will have an online team comprising physicians, nutritionists, yoga specialists, psychologists, physiotherapists and rehab experts, and we will try and customise solutions for the patients and help them recover faster.”

Professor Adrian Kennedy, chief wellness officer of Arabian Wellness and Lifestyle Management, developed the programme with his team in four to six weeks.

“RAK Hospital had introduced its physical post-Covid recovery rehabilitation programme last year. However, we wanted to extend our reach to larger communities and wider geographies, thus, to support the community in the comfort of their homes, we created our online Covid rehab product.”

Dr Mahmoud Burai, chairman of UAE ARISE and senior advisor to the Dubai Government, added: “Covid-19 being the biggest disaster of our times, needed our immediate attention, therefore, we felt it was necessary for us to work on presenting a solution which can help the communities not only in this country, but worldwide as well. The RAK Hospital team had the required know-how to carry our vision forward, hence the concept is now a reality.”

Present at the official virtual launch of the programme was Dr Tariq Ahmed Nizami, vice-chairman of UAE Arise and founder and CEO of CEO Clubs Network Worldwide.


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