National Program for Government Communication launched 2021 Healthy Children initiative to fight obesity among children. The UAE National Agenda aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity amongst children from 13.17 per cent (as of 2014) to 12 percent by the year 2021.
Ministry of Health and Prevention launched several initiatives for the benefit of senior people. One of these initiatives is to create a database to monitor the life expectancy of older persons in the country and expand the healthcare programmes and services especially home care services.
The ministry provides mobile clinic services in remote areas of Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah. The services include medical care, rehabilitation, natural treatments, preventive measures, dental, optical, dermatological and diabetes treatments. The mobile clinic in Ras Al Khaimah does not offer dental treatments.
Ministry of Community Development provides primary healthcare and social, psychological and physical therapy to UAE nationals who are at least 60 years at the elderly care centres or through their home care programme.
Red Crescent Authority offers various programmes for the elderly and coordinates with the elderly care centres across the country to organise various activities and events that draw attention to the issues of old people.
On special occasions, such as the International Day of Older Persons which falls on October 1, the authority organises field visits to elderly care homes to understand the needs of the ageing people and provide them with psychological support and special gifts. Red Crescent Authority also formed a team of caregivers and trained them to achieve its humanitarian mission in the elderly care arena.
Abu Dhabi Rehabilitation Centre is the only centre that provides specialised care for the elderly in Abu Dhabi city. It admits senior citizens who have no body to take care of them. Abu Dhabi Rehabilitation Centre offers a number of city and social services including diagnosis, consultation, physical therapy, speech therapy, psychotherapy, exercise therapy, water cure, work therapy, family counselling and integration into the society.
In Al Ain, the municipality provides mobile unit service. Through this service, elderly and people of determination can request for a customer service representative to visit them at their premises and process their service requests.
Sharjah provides home care service which involves accompanying the elderly citizens to the hospitals and nursing them back to health.
Health of people of determination
The UAE is keen on providing accessible healthcare services to people of determination (persons with disabilities or special needs). Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 Concerning the Rights of People with Special Needs protects the rights of people of determination (people with special needs) and guarantees them the right to live with dignity. Article 2 of the law provides: A person's special needs shall not be a reason to deprive him/her of their rights and services especially in welfare as well as social, economic, health, educational, professional, cultural and leisure services.
Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) offers assessment and evaluation of mental, psychological, social health of people of determination in order to diagnose the type and the level of disability/limited ability by using certified global standards. It also offers hippo-therapy sessions with the purpose of developing multiple skills and functions such as sensory integration, underdevelopment, sensory perception and balance.
In the emirate of Abu Dhabi, if there is a medical emergency for people of determination, you can get help by sending an SMS to 5999. You are required to send information about the incident, location of the patient and a phone number on which the police can contact you.
Dubai’s Health Facility Guidelines 2019 (PDF, 200KB) covers specific requirements for healthcare facilities to ensure that they are safe and functional for staff, patients and everyone else including the people of determination. The section on ‘Access, Mobility, Occupational Health and Safety and Security’ of the guidelines specifies standards in the fields of:
Safety and mobility considerations for floors, grab rails, doors, windows.
The UAE Government is regularly undertaking new measures to address mental health issues and reduce the stigma associated with it. It has come up with many initiatives for Emiratis and expatriates by giving them access to mental health services and support as required.
Enhancing the effectiveness of the promotion of awareness of mental health
Developing, strengthening and expanding comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health services for patients of all ages
Strengthening multi-sectoral collaboration to implement mental health promotion policy
Promoting the prevention of mental disorders for people of all ages
Strengthening capacities and improving information systems and conducting mental health research to develop their services.
Among the actions included in the policy are the provision of mental health services to outpatients, the development of mental health units for inpatients in mental health hospitals and the establishment of community mental health services, including outreach services, care and home support services and community rehabilitation.
In early 2019, Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) announced the launch of a number of digital solutions technologies in the mental and psychological field, which will lead to a quantum leap in the clinical practices field. These digital solutions include the treatment by using virtual reality technology to help understand schizophrenia and to learn more about the suffering of patients with this disease, through the use of Gear by Oculus technology.
In addition, MoHAP, represented by the Specialized Care Department of Hospitals Sector, and in collaboration with Sharjah Roads & Transport Authority, organised awareness lectures in English and Urdu to raise Sharjah taxi drivers’ awareness about mental disorders. A medical team from MoHAP conducted examinations for 100 drivers to assess their acquaintance with mental disorders causes and treatment. The team distributed mental-disorders-related brochures including how to control these disorders and the places where drivers can go for diagnosis and treatment.
Dubai Health Authority’s smart clinic observes 10 October every year as World Mental Health Day. Depression affects an estimated 350 million people around the world, and more women are affected than men. It is one of the main causes of disability worldwide. In the Arab world, it is estimated that 17.7 per cent of the population suffers from depression and this figure is only the tip of the iceberg because not everyone with mental health problems come forward and seek treatment due to the stigma associated with mental health diseases.
To support the spreading of awareness of mental health, reduce stigma and end discrimination against those with mental illness within the UAE, Al Jalila Foundation awarded three Emirati journalists, the ‘Mental Health Journalism Fellowship’. The fellowship promotes the publication of quality discussion around mental illness encouraging awareness and acceptance to a stigmatised hidden condition.