Bahrain’s holistic approach praised

THE world could learn from Bahrain’s innovation and inspiration in tackling the Covid-19 crisis – even transforming a car park into an intensive care unit, according to a global health agency chief.

World Health Organisaton (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was ‘really impressed’ by the way the car park at the BDF hospital was converted into a 130-bed ICU in just seven days, with provision for ventilators if needed.


Bahrain’s holistic approach – from tracing, testing and treating of Covid-19 infections to vaccinating people against it – offers ‘lots to learn’, said Dr Ghebreyesus.

He underlined the country’s strategy as patient-centric.

“A total of 130 ICU beds is big as it is like bringing three big hospitals together – a hospital may only have around 40 ICU beds,” he said, while speaking at a Press conference held remotely from the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Research, Riffa yesterday.

“Moreover, there were no patients, zero patients (at the facility), congratulations to Bahrain, I was told the last patient was discharged yesterday morning.

“Cases are also declining with (an average of) 100 per day – the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic.

“I was also impressed with a drive-through testing centre – an innovative idea taken from the private sector, and an exhibition centre converted into treatment, vaccination and research centre.”

He said transport buses converted into mobile testing units and the drive-through were helping Bahrain test more than 20,000 people a day.

“This is a big intervention compared with many other countries.”

Dr Ghebreyesus highlighted the high bed capacity at treatment centres and the integrated Al Shamil centre in A’ali.

“The rehabilitation and triage centre (A’ali) which brings together an integrated end to end service is very important in providing patient-centric care,” he said.

He underlined the leadership and community engagement which contributed to the results that the country is witnessing today.

“The proactive measure of surging bed capacity at treatment centres from 2,000 to 9,000 is really big.

“When numbers (cases) increase, normal services can be under stress and this innovative step can avoid disruption of regular services.”

He stressed the investment in research on Covid-19, with 19 publications released till date.

“The types and number of researches done here to understand Covid-19, I am sure, will contribute to global knowledge and I commend the government for this.

“Additionally Bahrain has vaccinated 90pc of its adult population and 70pc of the total population.

“The country has used monoclonal with 467 people benefiting from it without side effects or deaths or ICU cases – not many countries are using this.

“At the end of the day, all of these solutions are saving people’s lives.’

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that imitate the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses. Bahrain is using Sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody that is specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and is designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cell.

He was speaking alongside Health Minister Faeqa Al Saleh, Under-Secretary Dr Waleed Al Manea and WHO Bahrain representative Dr Tasnim Atatrah.




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