(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The UAE Ministry of Health participated in the GCC committee for fighting non-communicable diseases held in Bahrain recently.
Dr Mahmood Fikri, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Policies at the Ministry of Health, who represented the UAE at the meeting, said that the meeting came as a response to the instructions of their respective GCC ministers of health to unify the efforts to fight non-communicable diseases.
An initiative of the Executive Office for GCC Ministers of Health, the meeting aimed to put a unified GCC plan to fight non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancer. It was attended by all the GCC member-states, which agreed on increasing societal awareness within the region.
Dr Fikri said that the attendees reviewed all the previous decisions and recommendations of the World Health Organization and the GCC plans that were issued by the ministers.
He said that the members recognised that non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases, cancer and diabetes have lead to a large number of deaths in the GCC countries but pointed out that these diseases can be protected through active participation and avoiding the main causes such as tobacco, unhealthy food and less physical activities.
"Such diseases lead to several complications and cause economic burdens on the countries and their health systems due to the high costs of treatment and their negative impacts on productivity," he said.
He added that non-communicable diseases contribute significantly to the failure of development goals because of their threat to the health of children and mothers.
"The importance of uniting efforts to fight risk factors that may lead to these diseases through strategic action plans for the protection of non-communicable diseases and raising the standards of healthcare levels have been highlighted."
The meeting recommended that the committee must adopt the unified ten-year plan to fight non-communicable diseases from 2011 to 2020 issued by the meeting to be approved by the GCC Ministers of Health Council during their next meeting in Qatar.
It also recommended the holding of a convention of the GCC meeting for fighting non-communicable diseases every two years to follow up the implementation procedures and exchange successful experiences in this field emphasising the need to exert all efforts to support the issuance of UN resolution to fight non-communicable diseases that will issued in the United Nations Summit to be held next September.
It also recommended to include the non-communicable protection programmes as part of the development plans of each country, specify certain categories in the GCC budget plans to implement the prevention action plans, develop the primary healthcare infrastructure to become more adaptable for the treatment of non-communicable diseases through increasing the diagnosis services, medicines and treatments methods and techniques.
The participants also emphasised the importance of stipulating rules, policies and nationals programmes that aim for decreasing the dangers of non-communicable diseases such as the law of fighting tobacco and other programmes to fight cancer, heart diseases and diabetes.
In the end, the member states called for implementing community initiatives that encourage non-communicable early screening, applying awareness campaigns to enhance healthy life styles, enhancing cooperation between public and private sectors, coordinating efforts between all the society members to fight non-communicable diseases, setting up surveillance programs for fighting non-communicable diseases, approving a national registry for recording these diseases and making researches and studies in this regard.