UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the four-day event and toured the exhibition, in which more than 2,200 exhibitors are taking part.
The exhibition showcases the latest medical breakthroughs and technological developments from over 65 countries. Arab Health is expected to set new records by attracting nearly 50,000 visitors from all over the world, said Minister of Health Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami.
The minister described the event as “the greatest science gathering in the Middle East and the Arab world and the second largest healthcare exhibition worldwide. Arab Health is a world class medical and healthcare event where the latest medical technologies are revealed and healthcare achievements are addressed,” he pointed out.
“I am confident that all the expertise brought to Arab Health by the global health industry and the scientists will benefit the development of the medical sector and health knowledge which will eventually serve entire humanity,” he stated.
Under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashed Al Maktoom, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), launched today the National Campaign to fight Child Obesity in the UAE: "The Fat Truth", under the slogan "Get Involved So They Can Too".
The campaign which will take place from 20th April to 20th July 2009 was announced during a press conference in Dubai attended by the Minister of Health HE Humaid Al Qatami, UNICEF’s Representative in the Gulf Dr.
Ayman Abu Laban and representative of WHO (Regional Office in the Middle East). The conference was also attended by a number of VIPs, partners and media representatives.
"Our children are the foundation of the future of our society, our commitment as parents, governments, and institutions should be to take the right decisions for their long-term good and so give our children the opportunity to enjoy a better life, full of health and energy" said Princess Haya.
The Minister of Health said: "The wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, always emphasizes on the importance of upgrading health services for all groups of the society, and puts the health of our children as the core priority of the Ministry as they are the future and the key to comprehensive development, in light of the wise government’s guidance lead by HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, by building people’s capacities in the UAE and enhancing their quality of life through providing better health and social care".
He also referred to the statistics that show that around 10% of children and adolescents (between 16 and 17 years old) in the world suffer from obesity. He also added that statistics in the UAE show that around 12% of children are overweight, while 22% thereof are susceptible to obesity.
The Minister attributed this problem to the lack of exercise, and increasing consumption of fatty and sugary food items. He also warned from the dangers on children health as child obesity complications can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer in addition to the psychological problems which obese children suffer from.
The Minister commended the efforts of HRH Princess Haya in the field of Health Care in general, and he praised her pioneer role in supporting the nursing and midwifery, providing care for people with special needs, and supporting activities and conferences that aim to enhance health and provide better services for children.
He elaborated that the Ministry is working on a number of programs that aim to secure health and safety for children from the early phases of their development, such as programs for mothers and children, awareness campaigns that tackle the health of younger children, and methods to initiate healthy practices, good nutrition and exercise. These programs also aim to discourage children and adolescents from engaging in harmful practices such as refraining from exercising, smoking and unhealthy eating.
He also highlighted the Ministry’s efforts in fighting childhood obesity through cooperating with different institutions and stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education by implementing several joint projects that aim to increase awareness among school students and encourage them to engage in sports and healthy practices, and avoid harmful practices.
’’Cooperation between various institutions and entities is crucial to identify the right solutions to combat this phenomenon. In this context, the Ministry is currently focusing on developing plans and programs to enhance healthy lifestyles,he said.
"Securing children’s Health and protecting them from risks associated with diseases is a basic right that UNICEF works diligently to ensure that it is respected and implemented in all societies" said Dr. Ayman Abu Laban, UNICEF Representative in the GCC.
"The highly appreciated support of her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and the Ministry of Health is solid proof of the interest and efforts that the UAE puts into protecting the health of children".
The Ministry of Health and UNICEF are cooperating through "The Fat Truth Campaign" to combat childhood obesity in the UAE though involving and educating parents and caregivers and involving the healthcare and educational sectors, as well as policymakers, government bodies and institutions in the problem solving process.
"The Fat Truth"-campaign aims to raise awareness about the issue of childhood obesity. Obesity is defined as a condition that occurs when there is an excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body. This problem is starting to become more evident in the UAE, as more and more people are adopting unhealthy and inactive lifestyles, depending on junk food and unhealthy nutritious practices. The UAE now ranks 10th in the world amongst countries with the most overweight people as statistics show that 70% of Emiratis and around 12% of children suffer from overweight.
The campaign will include a number of activities that shall be implemented over the coming three months in various schools in cooperation with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and Dubai Sports Council. Educational leaflets will be distributed in malls and clinics. In addition, a number of workshops targeting various sectors and stakeholders will be organized in cooperation with Dubai Chamber and Dubai Press Club.
To complement these activities and increase awareness, an intensive media campaign will be launched supported by the 2 strategic media partners: Dubai Media Incorporated and Nickelodeon, in addition to Motivate Publishers, ITB Publishers, MediaQuest, Saydati wa Tefluki, Jeeran and Maktoob.
The campaign is also supported by UNICEF’s strategic partner the General Women’s Union, WHO, the Ministry of Education and Princess Haya initiative for the Development Health, Physical education and school sports. Partners from the private sector include: Virgin Mega Store, Fitness First, My Gym and Right Bite.
H.E. Mr Hamid Mohamed Obeid Kattami, UAE Minister of Health, was briefed on the disease awareness campaign conducted by UAE Ministry of Health in association with BinSina Pharmacy, based on random blood tests done on 28,000 people.
BinSina pharmacists were trained from experts from MoH to do the tests and give advices accordingly which has encouraged managers from the ministry to authorize BinSina Pharmacies to do the tests as the first pharmacy in the UAE.
The year-long campaign conducted through a simple blood test at BinSina outlets has revealed some alarming statistics about the incidence of ailments like diabetes, blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol.
A total of 28,000 underwent the random tests at BinSina outlets. More than 14 per cent said they had diabetes and 18 per cent had high blood sugar, of which 4 per cent were not aware of their condition. Further, it was found that 27 per cent had high cholesterol of 240 mg/dl, but only 15 per cent were aware of it, which means that 12 per cent had an alarming situation and had to see a doctor immediately. As for BMI (body mass index), 43 per cent were overweight with 25 – 29.9 BMI (kg/m2) and 25 per cent obese with a reading of 30- 39.9 BMI (kg/m2).
This campaign has raised further awareness among the 28,000 people and alerted them to serious illnesses which otherwise would have gone unnoticed for a long time. The campaign promotes better health among residents in the UAE.
Ahmed Khayyat of BinSina Pharmacy said: “We presented to the Ministry of Health the results of the campaign that covered all social classes in UAE. The ministry has authorised BinSina to do the tests in all its branches in Dubai and the Northern Emirates which has encouraged us to enhance our contribution to the healthcare industry in the UAE.”
Khayyat added: “In an age when many of these illnesses are becoming too common, the only way to combat them is through early detection and prevention. Therefore, preventive campaigns are critical to create health awareness among the members of the public. BinSina considers it a part of its corporate social responsibility to participate in such campaigns.”
Preventive health and health promotion have been given a higher priority in the UAE, which is dominated by social diseases such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.
The UAE Ministry of Health has succeeded in developing effective prevention and treatment methods as well as effective systems for the support of persons with high risks of developing such diseases. The new initiative targets the UAE public, who are entitled to preventive health examinations by licensed and well-trained pharmacists at BinSina.
BinSina Pharmacy has volunteered to give health examinations, assistance and advice on cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and obesity to all who visit its outlets.
Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Patron of Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University, HE Humaid Mohamed Al Qutami Minister of Health launched today the First Annual Conference on e-Health “The Virtual Dimensions of Health and Environment” at the Dubai Scientific and Cultural Association in the presence of HE Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University.
In this occasion HE Humaid Mohamed Al Qutami, Minister of Health, said:
“The role of the Ministry of Health is to provide a the basis to support the health care sector, through improving the overall health services to meet the best global standards, in addition that the ministries role consists of coordinating with the various department that encourage the development of the health sector such as Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University.”
HE Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, said:
“The First Annual Conference on e-Health enjoys the special sponsorship of the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Environment and Water, it comes to provide a platform for participants to share their experiences and knowledge, and address the challenges that accompany the emergence of e-health in the Middle East, this conference will also shed the lights on environmental issues in relation to health issues.”
The first day of this congress witnessed a large number of participation by veterans in the field of health and environment as well as representatives from governmental and non- governmental organizations interested in health and environmental issues as well as a number of researchers in the field of health care.
The conference witnessed the first event f its kind at state level, when the participants watched a live broadcast of a Cardiac catheterization Tele Surgery by Dr. Safwan A. Taha, from Al Noor Hospital in Abu Dhabi. The conference also included various discussions and presentations by key speakers such as: Prof. Gopal Kanji, Prof. James Harrington, Dr. Ali Al Numairy and Dr. Abdelghaffar Al Hawi. They discussed the challenges facing the innovation in health, they addressed issues like: “Health through a Better Environment”, “Toward virtual hospitals: Dream, Threat or Trend?”, and How could e-Health contribute to Health?”
Also during the conference, Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University signed MOUs with a number of parties, the first was with the UAE Ministry of Health. According to this agreement, the University will provide specialized consultancy services to help build the ministry’s quality advancement, the agreement will also foster the culture of e-learning at the Ministry. The second memorandum of understanding was with the Emirates Medical Association, in which the two parties agree to cooperate in providing help and support to each other in future e-health conferences, and the third was with the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, as per this agreement the parties cooperate in conducting research and academic programs to allow the learners to enrol in both universities.
The 1st Annual Conference on e-Health: The Virtual Dimensions of Health and Environment, is held in partnership with Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, the International Hospital Federation, Health Management, World Health Care Congress Europe, World Health Care Congress, Emirates Medical Association; and under the sponsorship of Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Environment and Water. In addition, the conference is privileged to receive the platinum sponsorship of the Dubai health Authority, the golden sponsorship of RTA, and in support of enPark, SUKAD , zarca interactive, Dubai International Academic City, arabmedicare.com and International Turnkey Systems Group (ITS).