UAE: People opting for fewer antibiotics after Covid to avoid weakening immune system

Residents have also reduced visits to healthcare centres due to infection concerns



Supplied photo
Supplied photo
by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 29 Jun 2022, 6:01 PM

Last updated: Wed 29 Jun 2022, 11:00 PM

Covid-19 has created awareness among UAE residents not to take an excessive amount of antibiotics as it weakens the immune system.

While speaking at a conference in Dubai on Wednesday, insurance industry executives said residents had reduced visits to the healthcare centres after the pandemic due to infection concerns, but people are increasingly going to clinics and hospitals again.

“Covid-19 brought awareness among people not to pump their bodies with antibiotics unless they have to. If people have a cold, they now first treat themselves and try to come out of fever quickly rather than going and picking up secondary infections in some hospitals. People know that if they keep pumping themselves with antibiotics, their immune system will go down and they keep falling sick now and then. This kind of awareness came among the residents after the pandemic,” said Rameeta Sethi, managing director of Indemnity Insurance Brokers.

Prior to the pandemic, she noted that people were very casual when it came to taking antibiotics and doctors were very investigative, too.

Sethi was speaking at the “Insurance Meet 2022” organised by Thumbay Group, a major healthcare group in the UAE.

“Once Covid-19 hit, people understood that visiting clinics and hospitals often could result in infection, hence, they reduced the number of visits. Actually, it was forced on the consumers because they were scared to go to clinics, but now they are realising the benefits. The desire to keep yourself well has gone up after the pandemic. As a result, a lot of wellness companies have come into the market because people want to stay fit,” she said during the panel discussion on changing landscape in the health insurance sector pre-and-post Covid-19.

Aftab Hasan, CEO of Arya Insurance Brokerage Co.; Nabil Al Shanawani; Lavanya Mundayur, CEO of The New India Assurance Co.; and Fareed Lutfi, secretary general of Emirates Insurance Agency, also took part in the panel discussion.

Saleh Al Hashimi, chief executive officer of Dubai Health Insurance Corp., and Dr Thumbay Moideen, founder and president of Thumbay Group, also attended the forum.

Citing an example, Sethi said it’s a routine for everybody in the US to have some fitness session in the morning and this practice is becoming popular and adopted here in the UAE. “Wellness is no more a luxury, but it’s a necessity now,” she said.

Nabil Al Shanawani, manager for the life and medical department at Al Buhaira National Insurance, during 20202, there was a huge reduction in visits to healthcare centres but now people are again going back to clinics and hospitals, resulting in an increase in medical insurance claims.

Insurance key to employee retention

Sethi stressed that health insurance has now become very important for employee retention because employees increasingly demand good insurance policies after the pandemic.

“Whether employers increase salaries or not, employees started demanding good insurance policies after the pandemic and that trend is continuing. Also, people tend to stay longer in the organisation which offers good insurance policies,” she added.

Sethi highlighted that buying a good insurance policy is a win-win game for both employer and the employee.

Aftab Hasan praised the UAE’s move to become one of the first countries to cover the pandemic in the insurance policies.

He further said that fraudulent claims have gone down tremendously with the increased adoption of technology by insurers.

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