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A piece of legislation that requires expatriates diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) to be deported is counterproductive and must be changed, a health official in Abu Dhabi has argued.
Director of public health and safety at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dr Ali al Marzooqi, said the country’s public health sector should be allowed to treat patients with TB.
Speaking at health conference InnovHealth 2010, he noted that the fear of deportation results in many expatriates "disappearing" once they have had TB diagnosed.
In Dubai last year, the DHA received notice of 242 TB cases, but over half of these (142 cases) could not be followed up.
"We don’t know what happened to those cases, maybe they left the country and went back to their homes for two months or three or four to take their medication there, then come back," Dr al Marzooqi commented.
The private healthcare sector should be allowed to provide TB treatment, he said, as currently only public hospitals and clinics are allowed to treat the illness.
Public health officials are supposed to be notified of each case of TB but many patients give false names or contact details to avoid deportation.
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