Kuwait on Sunday reiterated that classes will start as scheduled without any postponement but it will commit to all recommendations which will be presented at the Middle East Regional Conference in Cairo, Egypt on Sept 15. The opening of classes for the secondary stage has been slated for Sept 27; while the intermediate stage, along with the fourth and fifth grades in the primary stage will begin on Oct 4; and Oct 18 for the first, second and third grades in the primary stage. “Concerning the spread of swine flu in our region, the conference will take place in the presence of important personalities involved in the health and education sectors in the Middle East, along with representatives of the Arab League. Moreover, every policy that will be discussed and agreed upon in the conference will be enforced in Kuwait in the same manner we applied the guidelines introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) previously,” stated Minister of Health Dr Hilal Al-Sayer at a press conference in his office Sunday.
Al-Sayer also talked about the latest information concerning the swine flu pandemic in Kuwait. He also quoted the recent report of WHO in which it recommended closure of all schools in case one per cent of any specific population is infected with the virus to prevent the spread of the disease to the local community as a whole. “However, in the case of Kuwait, one per cent would be equivalent to 40,000 individuals and until today, we have only 2,000 cases and all have been cured,” he asserted. Al-Sayer also emphasized there are five international companies working on producing the vaccine that all countries around the world are currently suffering a shortage.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Health has ordered 45,000 units of the drug to be delivered by October. “Unlike before where every patient needed two strips of the drug to be cured, at present, only one strip is enough to prevent the virus by 98 per cent, and this would give us a chance to save the largest number of people. There will also be another 100,000 units of the drug delivered to Kuwait during this year,” Al-Sayer added. Asked about the side effects of the vaccine, Al Sayer clarified “most of the companies currently selling the drugs have stated that they will take no responsibility in case of any side effects. This is the reason why some of the higher authorities in Kuwait have refused to sign any contract with these companies as the drug has not been used yet and is likely to have harmful effects.”
Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mudhi Al- Humoud said “we will also ensure that our educational institutions are equipped with the necessary medical facilities through the Ministry of Health to protect the students and deal with any upcoming swine flu case immediately. We have also made sure that our educational institutions have complied with the right standards in terms of the books provided, tables and chairs, air conditioning units, laboratory equipment, as well as the right number of teachers to fill up different positions.” Al-Humoud explained a large number of clinics had been set up to cover the medical needs of students. “With the help of the Ministry of Health, we have established 120 clinics in areas near the educational institutions. Each area has around 20 clinics to prevent further spread of the disease,” she affirmed.
The Ministry of Education, along with officials from the Ministry of Health, will also hold a number of meetings in the near future. The agenda will include decisions concerning the age categories with the highest risk of contacting the disease, harmful effects of the virus on these specific groups, especially children under the age of five who tend to have weak immune system, those with special needs or disabilities, in addition to the need to stop children, aged five and below, from going to school and the need to equip schools and universities to enhance their ability to deal with emergencies,” Al-Humoud elaborated. Al-Humoud confirmed the two ministries will continue to release updated reports regarding swine flu next month to ascertain strict compliance with the suggested rules and regulations in all schools, universities and educational institutions to protect the health of students.
Meanwhile, the sixth swine flu related fatality was reported in Kuwait Sunday in a statement by the Health Ministry. Official ministry spokesman Dr. Qais Al-Dowairi told KUNA a 50 year-old woman, suffering from kidney failure in addition to cardiac enlargement, had passed away despite being given proper treatment and was pronounced dead 24 hours after being brought to hospital. The patient was kept in the intensive care unit and in isolation and her death was due to the complications of her poor health, he said. The rate of recovery from the swine flu is very high, estimated at 99 percent on a global scale. The victims of the swine flue are mostly children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people suffering from diseases.