Move to assess workers' health at 2022 projects

 25 Apr 2017 - 23:46

The Peninsula

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) has launched a new initiative to assess and monitor the health of workers on World Cup construction projects.
SC has entered into a partnership agreement with WCM-Q for the pilot project. The research and training pilot programme will see a team of clinical researchers from WCM-Q examine workers’ health, diets, and general awareness of the importance of nutrition. The researchers will also evaluate current nutritional intake and identify prevalent health challenges among workers which improved diets may help to resolve.
The programme, which will initially target a random sample of 1,000 workers on SC projects, will be implemented in three phases. During phase one, WCM-Q will carry out health checks of 1,000 workers to determine prevalence of health related issues; including hypertension (high blood pressure), blood glucose, kidney function, hydration status, body measurements, grip strength and respiratory parameters. The key research findings will be compiled into a report outlining the recommendations for phases two and three.
Phase two will see an awareness and training campaign involving workers, contractors and caterers). WCM-Q will educate the sample of 1,000 workers on the benefits of healthy lifestyles and balanced diets, and key stakeholders on the need to provide nutritious food options for workers.

Access to dieticians and nutritionists will be provided

During Phase three WCM-Q will work collaboratively with contractors and catering suppliers to recommend nutritional food options for the targeted workers via revised food options within their worksites and accommodation.
The project will conclude with the release of a detailed report that will summarise the outcomes, impact and key findings of the programme and make recommendations for future intervention.
Hassan Al Thawadi, SC Secretary General, welcomed the new initiative, saying: “Weill Cornell is a household name in medicine and we are delighted to partner with them on such an important programme. Nutrition is a vital component of any healthy lifestyle and we’re hoping that through this new programme we can uncover any prevalent or latent health concerns among our workers, address any issues that come to light and work collaboratively with our entire supply chain to make sure we improve our workers’ health and enable our contractors to offer balanced and nutritious options for workers.”
“The ultimate outcome of this programme is happy and healthy workers with a more balanced diet and a better understanding of what they need to do themselves to keep healthy while working and living in Qatar,” he added.
The research team from WCM-Q will be led by Dr. Shahrad Taheri, Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Investigations, and Dr. Odette Chagoury, Associate Director of Clinical Research. Dr. Taheri and Dr. Chagoury both have a wealth of experience in clinical trials and large scale population studies assessing the effectiveness of health and nutrition interventions.
Dr. Taheri said: “Nutrition plays a vital role in an individual’s health and even small changes to diet can make a huge difference to overall wellbeing. The impact of this initiative, both on the short and long-term health of workers associated with SC construction projects, could be huge, particularly if, as we hope, the findings are taken on board by other companies and international businesses operating in Qatar.”
Dr Javaid I. Sheikh, Dean of WCM-Q, said: “This initiative represents an exciting opportunity to tackle a global problem. Nutrition is vital to a healthy life but, sadly, in countries with high numbers of nationals working in Qatar, such as Bangladesh, Nepal and parts of India, undernutrition is rife and costly to eradicate. Through this initiative, we therefore not only hope to better understand the specific nutritional needs of workers in Qatar, but also to educate them about diet so they can pass this knowledge on to their families when they return home.”
The SC currently has eight construction sites underway across Qatar and just over 10,000 workers on-site at any given time. The number of workers engaged on SC construction projects is expected to rise to 36,000 in the next 12 months.


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