DHA Nursery Rules Trigger Worry over Inclusivity

The Dubai Health Authority has issues new standards for nurseries and ELCs, allowing them to choose not to have a DHA clinic facility or licensed nurse. Choosing to do so, however, comes with certain conditions.
DHA Nursery Rules Trigger Worry over Inclusivity
By Susan Roberts
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The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has published a set of standards for Nurseries and Early Learning Centres (dated 19 Jan 2022), which states that settings in Dubai may choose not to have a registered clinic with DHA licensed nurse. 

This move is largely welcomed by nursery and ELC operators, who have experienced difficulty in recruiting nurses during the pandemic. 

There are, however, very particular conditions to this move. To forgo the facility of a clinic and licensed nurse, a nursery or ELC must adhere to the following:

  • Have a minimum of 10% of the setting's staff  holding current valid first aid certificates (BLS, heart saver/CPR program). 
  • Inform all parents of children registered in the setting should they choose not to have a clinic facility and licensed nurse.
  • Must not accept the registration of children with chronic illnesses or children requiring the administering of medication. 
  • Must not accept the registration of people of determination 

Previously all nurseries, operating under MoE guidelines, had to have a nurse and DHA clinic facility. The difficulty recruiting licensed nurses, especially during the pandemic, had forced some nurseries to close, and the move clearly allows more flexibility for nursery owners. However, it could also lead to a two-tier sector, those with inclusive nurseries that support the learning needs of all children, and those that do not take in children of determination because they do not have the right staff. 

Dubai's education regulator, the KHDA, has previously treated inclusiveness as a core component of its inspections for schools. It is not known whether the same requirements will form part of its inspection regime for nurseries and Early Learning Centres in the Emirate.

As a note, nurseries in Europe or the UK do not have nurses: It is largely viewed as unnecessary so long as staff are suitably trained.

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