Mubadala Health partner’s customized rehabilitation program for adults has been adapted in response to growing number of children reporting physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms long after recovering from initial infection

Dr. Rizwana Popatia

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: To address the growing concern of post-COVID-19 complications – or ‘long COVID’ – among children in the UAE, Amana Healthcare has announced it is extending its specialized rehabilitation program to children from as young as two years old.

In 2020, the Mubadala Health partner developed the first-of-its kind specialized post-COVID-19 rehabilitation program to cover ICU step-down rehabilitation and ventilator weaning; specialized inpatient rehabilitation; home or tele/video rehabilitation; and specialized outpatient rehabilitation. An assessment is made whether all four stages of the program are necessary, after which appropriate therapy is provided to assist in returning the patient to pre-illness levels of function and activities.

Consultant pediatric pulmonologist and sleep medicine physician Dr. Rizwana Popatia, who leads the pediatric program, says: “While many children experience no symptoms or mild to moderate illness and recover without treatment, there is a growing body of research showing significant numbers of children develop complications that can last several weeks or months.”

According to experimental estimates published by the UK’s Office of National statistics in January this year, around 12.9% of children aged two to 11 years; 14.5% of those aged 12–16 years; and 17.1% of teenagers and young adults aged 17–24 years still had COVID-19 symptoms at five weeks after the initial onset.

Dr. Popatia, who also serves as Medical Director of Amana Healthcare, adds: “In the pediatric patient group, we tailor the care as the symptoms may differ from the adult groups, while still impacting the respiratory, neurological, emotional as well as physical functions. If these remained unchecked, these post-COVID complications/impairments may lead to further deconditioning.”

According to Dr. Popatia, these complications can range from difficulty in breathing, speech, eating and drinking, lack of energy, tiredness, inability to do everyday actives and shortness of breath, to issues with paying attention, concentration, sadness, anxiety and so on. All of these complications have an impact on schooling, life at home and overall development of the pediatric population.

“Our pediatric patients will have access to a full continuum of care, with appropriate therapies customized to meet their unique needs, and provided on an inpatient, outpatient, home and tele-rehab basis,” she says.

Dr. Popatia works with a multidisciplinary specialized pediatric team consisting of internationally trained pediatric specialists, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and pulmonology specialists, dieticians, special needs educator and a child life specialist.

Amana is the Middle East’s leading provider of post-acute/specialized care for complex conditions and is known for pioneering specialized rehabilitation in the UAE and beyond. Its specialized rehabilitation services and its long-term pediatric and adult care services are accredited by the US-based Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, or CARF.

About Mubadala Health:

Mubadala Health is the integrated healthcare network of Mubadala Investment Company. Established in 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), Amana Healthcare, National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Danat Al Emarat, HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, HealthPlus Family Clinics, HealthPlus Fertility, HealthPlus Women’s Health Center, Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, and a stake in Al Meswak Dental Clinics Group. With a vision to transform the regional healthcare landscape, Mubadala Health sets a new benchmark for the UAE and regional healthcare industry through its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class caregivers who strive to put patients first across its continuum of care. Innovation, research, and education are the foundational pillars of Mubadala Health, supporting the further development of a sustainable healthcare sector in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi and the region.

About Amana Healthcare:

Amana Healthcare, a Mubadala Health partner, is the Middle East’s leading provider of specialized long-term care, rehabilitation and home healthcare services and is the region’s pioneer in integrated continuum-of-care services. Based in the United Arab Emirates, Amana serves patients from a wide catchment area—including the Middle East, Africa and South Asia—who need complex, specialized post-acute care. Amana’s hospitals are accredited by the U.S. Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

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