Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ministry to conduct national nutrition survey

The Gulf Today, 20 June 2010

A comprehensive food survey, covering all the seven emirates, to identify the perfect dietary patterns of the UAE residents, will be conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) by the end of the year in tandem with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The national food survey is expected to be carried out after this summer, and the action plan is currently being studied by the ministry, according to a senior health official.
Dr Salem Al Darmaki, the acting director general of the MOH, said, “A delegation of seven experts from the WHO and International Council for Iodine Deficiency Disorder will visit the UAE from June 19 to 27 to participate in the ongoing planning and preparation of the survey.”
“A national committee for the survey has been formed consisting of representatives from the MoH, Abu Dhabi Health Authority, Dubai Health Authority and Ministry of Economy. Experts from the UAE University also will be part of the survey,” he added.
“Prior to the launch of the survey, the MoH has to complete administrative procedures with other relevant local authorities, and technical requirements like preparation of paper works and assigning manpower,” pointed out Dr Al Darmaki.
“The health ministry officials conducted a first-of-its-kind consultative meeting with the WHO experts on Saturday in Dubai, and discussed methods of developing educational programmes focusing on the area of nutrition and health,” he noted.
According to him, such academic programmes will help the country in preventing proliferation of non-communicable diseases that sweep residents' health apparently, impacting the financial stability of the country.
Dr Mahmoud Fikri, the executive director for Health Policies at the MoH, said that the health ministry ensures quality healthcare services for all the residents in the country by implementing potential health policies and joining hands with local and international bodies.
“The strategic objective of the country is to promote health, education, hygienic behaviour and lifestyle to reduce risk factors related to non-communicable diseases,” he added.
Dr Fikri quoted recent statistics and said that non-communicable diseases could cause seven deaths out of 10 deaths in the world by the end of this year.
“The operational plan for the survey will be implemented clearly defining the role of each participant. The interview samples will also be finalised by the committee, determining the sample sizes, selection of required tests as well as preparation of laboratories and training of field researchers,” he elaborated.
According to him, the MoH initiative comes after continuous efforts for fighting and eradicating non-communicable diseases.

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