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MoHAP launches SPHERE platform to strengthen early surveillance of future pandemics

DUBAI, The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has launched the E-public health system "SPHERE", an e-platform for epidemiological surveillance and management that can be used or linked at the state level.

The launch of the new system, which is one of the most important integrated projects based on the latest technologies, came as part of MoHAP's participation in Arab Health 2022, held from 24th - 27th January in Dubai.

Through this platform, the ministry aims to provide an integrated system for early monitoring, follow-up, and management of events affecting public health and strengthen linkage with the government and private health sectors and other stakeholders.

SPHERE provides a unified national database that enhances disease prevention, by sharing and exchanging information locally, regionally and globally, so as to reinforce the UAE's status in health competitive indicators.

SPHERE is designed to play a key role in disease surveillance to achieve a rapid response for combating communicable diseases. In addition to monitoring data and information to evaluate the burden of health risks, prioritise public health actions, and monitor the impact of control measures, the new system supports research that helps determine the bases and standards for the development of public health policies and strategies.

The project has paramount importance as part of the preventive and proactive health strategy adopted by the Ministry, in cooperation with local health authorities, said Abdullah Ahli, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for the Support Services Sector, pointing to the ministry's commitment to attracting and developing the latest electronic and smart systems, as one of the most important lessons learned and agreed upon by world countries.

"A global challenge like the current pandemic can never be faced without utilising technologies, and data is an important basis for fighting future epidemics. While pandemics are moving and spreading quickly like what we've seen with COVID-19, data can move even faster, providing us tools to manage community response during epidemics," added Ahli.

He underlined that the UAE has a robust epidemiological investigation system, immediate response, and control measures, and high laboratory capabilities, helping maintain health security in the country, highlighting the UAE's success in dealing effectively and practically with the pandemic, thanks to the support and guidance provided by the UAE government, according to high-level standards praised by the World Health Organisation.

"The program is one of the most important integrated projects based on the latest technologies, to develop the epidemiological surveillance and early warning system for communicable diseases, through direct electronic linkage with the stakeholders and the sharing of real-time information," stated Ali Al Ajmi, Director of the Digital Health Department.

"SPHERE has a lot of features, such as epidemiological analysis, identifying patterns and seasons of diseases, calculating relevant indicators and using them to make decisions based on evidence, and creating epidemiological maps to address potential threats in the future," added Al Ajmi.

He explained that the new platform targets all concerned health cadres in government and private health institutions, mentioning that any private facility that wants to create an account on the platform can send a request to Public Health Center in the concerned emirate or to SPHERE platform email.

The platform also includes the reporting of communicable diseases, pathological syndromes, chemical poisoning cases, injuries, and vaccination records.

Source: Emirates News Agency