UAE, 3 October, 2016 – The Ministry of Health and Prevention announced the launch of its community awareness campaign on cardiovascular disease, which is part of the ‘Healthy Heart’ initiative. The launch, which was held at the headquarters of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, is part of the celebrations marking World Heart Day on September 29, 2016– with this year’s commemoration focusing on community health awareness as well as the health risks associated with the use of tobacco, lack of physical inactivity, and following unhealthy eating habits – all of which are contributing to the rising cases of cardiovascular disease.
The opening ceremony was attended by H.E. Nasser Khalifa Al Budoor, Assistant Undersecretary of MOHAP and Director of Dubai Medical District, Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, and Dr. Weddad Al Maidoor, Director of National Tobacco Control Program, as well as department managers and a number of officers and staff.
With the theme ‘Power Your Life,’ the World Heart Day aims to raise public awareness on ways to reduce heart risks and promote healthy home and work environments. It empowers community members to make positive changes in their lives; fight heart disease, hypertension, stroke and other associated risk factors such as; sedentary lifestyle; eating junk food; and using tobacco products. Therefore, providing healthy options to the community such as, making healthcare center facilities available, promoting smoke-free work places, and offering healthy food alternatives are all crucial to achieve the objectives of the World Heart Day celebration.
The Ministry will stage a host of educational and fun-filled events and activities in primary healthcare centers, shopping malls such as Mega Mall Sharjah, Al Ghurair Centre in Dubai, and RAK Mall in Ras Al Khaimah, in addition to various workplaces and hospitals as part of the nationwide mass awareness campaign. The government-led activities will also include, free medical check-ups (blood pressure, body mass index, blood sugar level), health counseling, and lectures and workshops on the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity as well as the negative effects of smoking.
Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, shared that the responsibility for the prevention of diseases is a concern for everyone and holding annual activities is part of a collaboration between the community and the Ministry of Health & Prevention. In line with this, the initiative, ‘World Heart Day,’ which is being held under the slogan ‘Your heart, your life,’ represents a strategic way to raise awareness and health education among employees; allowing them to benefit from medical consultations and conduct basic tests to check their health status. We believe that preserving and maintaining employee’s health reflects positively on their efficiency and productivity at work. These initiatives demonstrate key importance as they allow us to be updated on important medical topics, the causes of diseases and how to prevent them, especially in relation to chronic diseases.
In organizing the awareness campaign program, Dr. Hussein Abdel-Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry’s Health & Prevention Assistant Sector – Health Centers and Clinics, said the Ministry aimed to promote healthy lifestyles in local society, reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, elevate public health awareness, and emphasize on the importance of regular medical screening for early detection of related illnesses and identification of other risk factors such as obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy food intake.
On the other hand, Dr. Fadila Mohammed Sharif, Director of the Ministry’s Health Education and Promotion, assured that the educational health activities and medical examinations in workplaces and shopping centers will help determine health problems early on through consultations with specialists. During the World Heart Day, various heart and nutrition educational models will be used; lectures on key factors contributing to heart diseases will take place; and publications tackling relevant topics will be distributed.
Dr. Sharif led the launching of 116 UAE-wide campaigns in 2014, benefiting 11,482 people; 78 campaigns in 2015, benefiting 6,416 individuals; and 89 campaigns in 2016 with 6,918 beneficiaries.
Dr Hussain further added, that studies indicate that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of deaths globally. The disease, which is expected to contribute about 60 per cent of the disease burden, will be the top cause of deaths worldwide by 2020.