Screening programmes for developmental disorders in children are already in place as part of the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020, developed by the Dubai Executive Council in 2015.
A senior official from Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the body responsible for developing the health pillar of the strategy, said that the authority was working on having the screening programmes covered by insurance soon.
The developmental screenings programmes are being done at Primary Healthcare Centres for children, both Emiratis and expats, at the ages of nine, 18 and 36 months.
“We are also developing insurance packages for services being offered at the government sector, including diagnosis and early intervention programmes for people of determination – they should be in place by 2018,” said Dr Latifa Rostamani, head of the People of Determination Service Office in Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), DHA.
“However, some tests can be covered and others are not; this is still being worked out,” she said.
The screenings include tests for hearing, vision, neurological and other specialized tests such as for speech and motor development.
“If any child is found to be positive during these screening tests, there are referred pathways for treatment,” explained Dr Latifa.
She said that the authority had also signed a number of MoUs with some treatment centres after thorough assessments. “We are developing strategies to make it easier for families and children,” she added.
Under the strategy, the DHA has developed the main health programmes for people of determination. These include Internal Classification of Diasability;
* Diagnosis & early interventions: The authority aims to insure that quality diagnosis and prevention services are available in health centres and clinics and develop models for early intervention that also take into consideration psychological factors.
* Health benefits and funding: This will include designing a registry for determined ones and implementing an integrated programme with a comprehensive classification system for diagnosing patients. Regulations will also be requested from decision makers, to ensure the programme’s implementation.
* Inclusive Health Policy: The authority aims to integrate determined ones in society, based on quality medical services that promote equality in social and health activities and medical care.
* Rehabilitation & mental health: Situational analysis of rehabilitation and mental health was conducted and a full programme for rehabilitation services has been planned to provide a comprehensive programme, for rehabilitation and psychological programmes. The overall programme will focus on community-based rehabilitation.