Asthma control helps reduce sick leaves in Dubai

The level of controlled asthma has increased in Dubai Health Authority's Primary Health Care Sector (PHC), hence reducing the number of sick leaves taken because of asthma, a scientific report published by the American Institute of Science has revealed.

A quality improvement programme for bronchial asthma was implemented in PHC a few years ago, said Dr Nahed Monsef, consultant family physician and director of health affairs department in PHC, and the paper is the successful outcome of this programme.

Dr Moulham Saleh Ashtar, head of clinical effectiveness office and family medicine specialist at PHC, who monitored the programme and conducted the report, said the study is designed to investigate the level of asthma control, percentage of using inhaled corticosteroids, percentage of sick off days because of asthma and percentage of smokers among asthmatics, to name a few.

"We found that the level of controlled asthma has reached more than 60 per cent in PHC facilities, this is above the international standards as majorities of international studies have found that less than 50 per cent control their asthma correctly," said Dr Ashtar.

Furthermore, the study reflected an increase in the correct and effective use of inhaled corticosteroids as it found that 82 per cent of patients were using it in outpatient clinics while it was 95 per cent were using it in asthma mini clinic cases. "This is remarkably higher than the international standard which is below 50 per cent in the majorities of international studies," he added.

As for sick leaves, Dr Nahed Monsef said that the percentage of registered asthma cases with no sick leave are above 50 per cent and reached 70-80 per cent between 2011 and 2013 "which is a great achievement".