Abu Dhabi's proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has been exceptional in mitigating the impact of the global health crisis. According to an independent survey conducted by London-based Deep Knowledge Group recently, Abu Dhabi topped the list of cities globally in terms of its COVID-19 response. The survey was carried out on the basis of more than 50 parameters related to handling COVID-19, including testing rates and vaccination strategy.
Notably, Abu Dhabi is leading the world with its robust and rapid response to the pandemic crisis that has helped in protecting all members of the community. Malaffi, the region's first Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform, is one of the key initiatives of the Department of Health (DoH) – Abu Dhabi that has played an integral role in the emirate's response against the pandemic. The platform connects electronic medical records of patients to centralise relevant health-related information. It created a database of COVID-19 test results conducted across the emirate.
According to the latest data, approximately 29,401,060 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted since the beginning.
In line with the national vaccination campaign, Malaffi helped frontline workers and healthcare authorities in managing patients' vaccination data within Abu Dhabi. With this, all eligible patients were given proper doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the right time across the biggest emirate in the UAE.
Speaking about the development, Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector, noted that positive progress is being observed on a daily basis. She affirmed that Malaffi's health information exchange technology is enabling successful administration of the vaccination campaign across the UAE and overcoming any challenges.
"We can look at overall vaccination rates at an emirate-wide level and monitor different indicators over time, which provides insights for the capacity planning. At a patient’s level, we can record adverse reactions and check for any contraindications, such as allergies. This makes the process more efficient and further improves safety," she added.
Malaffi is supporting the national vaccination campaign in three main ways, which include centralising all vaccine-related information from points of vaccination; confirming eligibility for vaccination; and monitoring and reporting challenging events.
With its dedicated vaccination module, the platform is collecting and sharing all crucial vaccination information across over 100 facilities and centers in the emirate that are participating in the inoculation drive.
With the help of centralised vaccination information through Malaffi, the UAE government and DoH have real-time insights into the vaccination status across the country. This information further allows the authorities to generate operational reports, plan vaccination capacities, streamline logistics and vaccine supply chain, and generate awareness about outreach programmes among the public.
Abu Dhabi's healthcare professionals can access COVID-19 vaccination information in Malaffi to enhance clinical decision-making as well as efficiency of the inoculation programme. In the coming time, Malaffi will allow healthcare professionals to access other immunisation data of patients, beyond just the COVID-19 vaccination information.
Eligibility for vaccination
Malaffi helps medical staff at the point of vaccination to access patients' medical records and establish if they are eligible for inoculation. Medical professionals can verify if the patients have been a part of any vaccination trial or if they have taken the vaccine. The programme enhances safety by allowing the medical staff to check the medical history of patients and identify any contraindications or complications from the vaccine, such as allergies. Malaffi facilitates access to such crucial information with the aim of empowering informed decision-making and improving the safety of the vaccination efforts.
Monitoring and reporting of adverse events
Malaffi also centralises any side effects from the vaccine at the point of care received from clinicians in their electronic health records. It helps the Abu Dhabi authorities in monitoring the safety of the programme as well as reporting any adverse effects.
In the near future, Malaffi's digital infrastructure, including its recently launched population risk management platform, will provide a much clearer picture of the prevalence of chronic diseases and other health conditions to the Department of Health. This information will help in boosting DoH's outreach efforts to relevant high-risk groups and priorities the distribution of vaccine and related aid accordingly.
Malaffi's data and its population risk management tools will also assist other advanced systems specialised designed for syndromic and pandemic surveillance and effective response.
In its statement, Deep Knowledge Group underlined that such systems are extremely valuable for generating early alerts and increased preparedness to manage any potential future outbreak at the local and international level. It will facilitate the safety of all community members, thereby ensuring that Abu Dhabi remains at the forefront of public health globally.