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Bahrain’s innovative health response amidst new COVID variant concerns

Bahrain has once again demonstrated its proactive approach to public health by launching an online epidemiologic investigation platform.

Amid the re-emerging threats posed by the JN1 COVID variant, the innovative tool, introduced by the Health Ministry, is set to streamline the reporting of infectious diseases from healthcare professionals to the ministry’s Public Health Directorate. This tool will enable swift and targeted interventions, enhancing the nation’s ability to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases.

The platform will facilitate and accelerate the process by which healthcare professionals provide information to the ministry’s Public Health Directorate about infectious diseases from various health authorities.

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The JN1 variant is a concerning development in the landscape of COVID-19, prompting heightened vigilance and proactive measures from health authorities worldwide. Its re-emergence underscores the ongoing need for robust public health responses and effective disease surveillance.

Public Health Director Dr Mohamed Abdulmajeed Alawadhi said that the platform allows healthcare professionals to report infectious diseases quickly and easily, as well as connects government and private health facilities with the Public Health Directorate about infectious diseases that are detected at these facilities.

“The directorate has trained about 80 health facilities, including clinics and hospitals, and has provided them with special electronic login keys to easily report any infectious disease,” he said.
“The platform will significantly impact public health due to its ability to detect infectious diseases early, as well as take preventative measures and control disease spread in the kingdom.”

This move follows the country becoming one of the first to offer the latest Pfizer XBB 1.5 booster shot as a defence against COVID-19 and its new variants.

Health Ministry Disease Control Department head Dr Basma Al Saffar has urged the public to avail themselves of the booster doses to improve their immunity rate.

She also called on parents of children aged 5–11 to take the initiative to get their wards administered the latest bivalent booster shot against COVID-19 and its variants.

“The vaccine is available at Halat Bu Maher Health Centre, Hamad Kanoo Health Centre, and Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah Health Centre,” she said.

“Parents can take their children to these health centres without making an appointment.”

Dr Al Saffar emphasised the importance of vaccination for enhancing immunity and reducing the symptoms of the virus and its complications.

Vaccination will be available from 7am to 7pm.

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