The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Health and Prevention has started work on a huge national health survey, that will look to target 30,000 people living throughout the Emirates.
Established in an attempt to help the country reach its 2021 development goals for health, the survey will target three people from 10,000 households across the country, in an attempt to make sure that all age demographics are represented.
Speaking at the press conference arranged to deliver the news, assistant undersecretary of health clinics and centres at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand said: “It will try to include members of different age groups, children below the age of five, adults above the age of 18, married women and elderly above the age of 60. Three members from each of the 10,000 families will undergo a battery of tests and detailed interviews, to collate significant data on health that will help in planning, policy development and promulgation of public health programmes for the country.
“This will mean the survey, which ends in the second quarter of 2018, will interview about 30,000 individuals made up of 40 per cent Emirati families and 60 per cent expatriate families.”
A range of factors are set to be studied, from non-communicable diseases, to environmental health risks and even exercise patterns - with the Dubai Health Authority (The DHA), and the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) both offering their full support.
Also speaking at the public unveiling last week, Alya Zeid Harbi, director of the UAE’s Statistics and Research Centre said: “A randomiser will help us select three members from the family, and we will conduct blood tests to ascertain fasting blood sugar, lipids, triglycerides, cholesterol and haemoglobin levels, measure height, weight and waist-hip ratio and other health parameters on all three selected family members.
“Once we have all the data by the second quarter of 2018, we will clean, validate and analyse the data and create health indicators as per WHO standards. By the end of 2018 we will provide this data to the relevant health authorities for strategy and policy development. The data will also give us an idea where we stand in our health goals vis-a-vis the National Health Agenda 2021, and Sustainable Development Goals 2030, giving us a clearer perspective on the way forward.”
When published, the results should give a fascinating insight into the health of the national - potentially on a level never previously seen before.