Community leaders’ input sought to address rise in chronic diseases


The meeting between members of the health promotion task force and community leaders

In order to better target various groups in the different communities so as to address the root cause of the problem and reduce the number of incidences of these diseases and the number of premature deaths, the newly formed health promotion task force has met district administrators and members of the National Assembly to get their inputs.

This was through a discussion forum held at the Sheikh Khalifa diagnostic centre on Monday afternoon.

Addressing all those present for the forum, health principal secretary Veronique Laporte, the chairperson of the task force, said today everyone knows what causes cardiovascular diseases, obesity and other diseases but still more and more people are getting ill and more deaths are being recorded.

“Therefore what are the factors stopping us from taking measures to stop ourselves from getting those diseases?,” Ms Laporte asked.

She said the Ministry of Health, through the task force, is reviewing all ongoing health promotion programmes and bringing together all its resources and stakeholders to seek ways to better target people in the community with the aim of reducing chronic non-communicable diseases.

The aim of the forum was to seek suggestions from community leaders with regard to the types of activities and education campaigns which would be best suited for the communities so as to step up disease prevention measures.

“A lot has been done with regard to promoting a healthy lifestyle but we need to relook at the way we do things,” added Ms Laporte.

“Everyone has a right to health care but people should realise that we also have to take responsibility for our health,” she said.

All the diseases share the same risk factors which are tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.

During the forum those present heard a presentation by George Madeleine from the cardiovascular unit of the Ministry of Health.

He presented some alarming statistics on the country’s current disease burden. Most of these diseases, it became clear, can be prevented. 

The community leaders have shown great enthusiasm to support health promotion activities at district level.

Among the many encouraging propositions brought forward during the meeting were the need to increase visibility of health promotion materials within the waiting areas of the district administration offices, organise regular healthy food bazaars at district level, bring aerobic classes closer to the community, strengthen partnership between the districts and other agencies and non-government organisations.