Abu Dhabi Health Survey 2017


Fraser Clarke

Rates of lifestyle related health conditions in the Gulf are showing little sign of dropping, after a recently published report in Abu Dhabi showed that they were responsible for 37% of deaths in the Emirate last year.

The Department of Health’s ‘Health Statistics 2016’ report demonstrated a rise of 2% in deaths from cardiovascular disease since 2015, whilst other lifestyle related issues like diabetes and some Cancers put ‘an aggressive demand on outpatient services.’

One of the report’s key findings that plays a role in explaining just why cardiovascular disease is such a big issue, was explained in the results from the ‘Weqaya’ screening program. It showed that some 71% of citizens had at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor. A factor that they were unaware of and thus did little to change.

This lack of knowledge is one area that Dr Omniyat Al Hajeri, Director of Public Health in the Emirate, is keen to change. She told Gulf News: “As announced at the first Abu Dhabi Childhood Obesity Forum earlier this month, we will soon launch, or intensify, up to 50 initiatives that aim to reduce the average body mass index of children by 15% by 2022.

“In addition to encouraging active lifestyles and better food choices, we also hope to make healthier food options more accessible and affordable.”

Despite the increasing figures, and the UAE being hit by a drop in the global oil price, the number of medical facilities on offer in Abu Dhabi has actually risen. Between 2015 and 2016 nine new hospitals opened - whilst over 300 more doctors found employment in the Emirate.

Abu Dhabi, along with the rest of the Gulf region, faces a huge, lengthy battle with lifestyle related disease. Despite this, and various other challenges however, it remains a leader in global healthcare.

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