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MoHAP launches National Survey for Health and Nutrition 2024 to bolster UAE’s public health policies

MoHAP launches National Survey for Health and Nutrition 2024 to bolster UAE’s public health policies
20 May 2024 19:37


The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) officially started fieldwork for the National Survey for Health and Nutrition 2024-2025 in collaboration with the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, alongside local health authorities and statistical centres.

The survey, which was announced during a press conference in Dubai, aims to enhance national health policies and achieve the goals set for comprehensive development by 2030.

The press event was attended by prominent figures including Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector at MoHAP; Mohamed Hassan Ahli, Executive Director of the Data and Statistics Sector at the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC), and Dr Alia Zaid Harbi, Director of the Statistics and Research Centre at MoHAP.

Also among the attendees was Khalid Al Jallaf, Director of the Research, Studies and Data Analysis Department at the Dubai Health Authority.

Notably, the event was held in cooperation with the Emirates Health Services, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre and Dubai Data and Statistics– Digital Dubai.

The National Health Survey is designed to achieve four key objectives: to collect reliable field data on UAE’s health status using a national statistical methodology that aligns with the highest international standards for data quality, to refresh the population health database, and to measure health performance indicators.

Furthermore, the National Nutrition Survey aims to map out three strategic goals: gathering field data on the UAE's nutritional landscape to enhance food-related health planning policies and updating the national food database.

MoHAP stressed that all data collected from individuals and families will remain confidential, with stringent measures in place to ensure that information is exclusively used for statistical purposes.

The survey outcomes will be distilled into comprehensive statistical reports and indicators, meticulously avoiding the inclusion of any personal data.

The National Health Survey will focus on six key indicators: socio-economic factors, household health expenditures, and the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases and risk factors (STEPS). Additionally, the survey will measure biophysical data, assess the accessibility and utilisation of healthcare services, and evaluate air pollution indicators.

Similarly, the National Nutrition Survey will investigate six crucial areas: micronutrient deficiencies, including zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin D; dietary habits; and child growth metrics from birth to five years old, which include stunting, wasting, obesity, and underweight conditions.

The survey will also measure urinary iodine and sodium levels, anemia in pregnant women, and daily salt consumption.

During the press conference, Dr Al Rand emphasised that health surveys are a globally recognised practice, endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are useful tools not only to shape health sector plans but also to enhance public health and quality of life and improve health service levels.

“Driven by the nation's end goal of achieving global leadership and boosting the UAE’s competitiveness as a worldwide health model, we are committed to building a robust database to refine planning and develop mechanisms that elevate health sector performance to the highest international standards,” Al Rand said.

He added that the Ministry's vision for all national initiatives and campaigns is centred around governing an integrated health system that is both preventive and curative.

This is to ensure the provision of proactive, interdependent, comprehensive, and innovative health services based on continuously updated and field-collected data.

He noted that MoHAP harnesses such data to craft health policies, programmes, and research driven by reliable big data, as well as to manage preventive, and community health programmes aimed at enhancing the quality of life across the UAE.

Al Rand further said that the community and its members are being attached utmost attention as part of development efforts, with the overarching goal of fostering a healthier and happier society.

Dr Al Rand commended the key role played by the Ministry's partners, including the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, health authorities, and local statistics centres, in the thorough and collaborative preparation of the National Survey for Health and Nutrition 2024 campaign.

Additionally, he encouraged all individuals targeted by the survey to engage cooperatively with the field teams, emphasising the importance of their participation in collecting essential health data to enhance health services.

Ahli said that the official statistical information collected through the National Health and Nutrition Survey will play an essential role in supporting the UAE’s development journey.

Statistical centres, he explained, develop all standards to ensure complete confidentiality of the information and data gathered during field visits, according to accurate technical considerations that include the basic scientific principles of official statistics.

He added that official statistics are very useful for the development of government policies and planning.

“Hence, we are committed to employing sound governance tools to manage and protect data and information, as well as using the latest technologies to collect, analyse, and process data, ensuring both confidentiality and privacy,” he said.

He continued, “The survey results will support the development of the national health system and improve the level of services provided in the UAE. This, in turn, will enhance the country's global competitiveness and ensure continued prosperity for its citizens and residents.”

Acting Executive Director of the Supportive Health Services Sector at Emirates Health Services (EHS), Dr. Abdullah Al-Naqbi, stated, "The National Health and Nutrition Survey 2024 campaign is designed to enhance and develop health services in the UAE, aligning with the goals of the We the UAE Vision 2031 and Sustainable Development 2030. It will play a vital role in creating a comprehensive database that bolsters our planning capabilities and the development of both preventive and curative health programmes, ultimately improving the quality of life for all citizens and residents in the country.

Al Naqbi emphasised that this campaign is not merely about data collection; it represents a significant step towards a brighter and more advanced health future for the UAE by providing a deeper understanding of our community's health and nutritional realities.

He also assured that the highest standards of confidentiality and data protection are being applied to safeguard the privacy of all individuals and families participating in the survey.

Harbi said that the National Survey for Health and Nutrition will concurrently survey two distinct samples through personal interviews conducted during field visits, scheduled in advance with families within the targeted sample range.

She noted that the questionnaires, approved by the WHO and national health authorities, are available in four languages: Arabic, English, Hindi, and Urdu.

Furthermore, they have been digitally designed to streamline both the collection and analysis of data.

Harbi also stated that the national health survey aims to reach 10,000 families of both citizens and residents, as well as 2,000 workers.

The national nutrition survey, targeting a different set of 10,000 families, will include 40 percent citizens and 60 percent residents.

She emphasised that the survey participants will consist of adults over the age of 18, children in two age groups—one from one day to five years and another from six to 17 years—and females aged 15 to 49 years, including pregnant women.

Director of the Research, Studies and Data Analysis Department at the Dubai Health Authority, Khalid Al Jallaf, stressed that national health surveys are a global standard, adopted by the most developed countries to maximize the health well-being of their populations.

He noted that the UAE’s healthcare system is undergoing significant transformations, adding that the launch of the fieldwork for the National Health and Nutrition Survey 2024-2025 would further these transformations and support the nation's commitment to health sustainability.

Al Jallaf highlighted that the survey’s dual focus on health and nutrition reflects the significant attention the UAE dedicates to enhancing and modernizing its healthcare systems based on empirical data and future projections gleaned from the survey.

The data collected will, subsequently, be utilised to develop policies and plans that align with strategic objectives, particularly those associated with "We the UAE 2031" vision.

He assured that the Dubai Health Authority is fully committed to supporting the national survey campaign, promising to exert all necessary efforts to fulfil the campaign’s objectives and achieve its ultimate goals.

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