Qatar World Cup workers get nutrition health checks

 25 Apr 2017 - 18:32

Qatar World Cup workers get nutrition health checks

By AFP / Agencies

Doha: As many as 1,000 Qatar World Cup construction workers are receiving health checks as part of a pilot programme agreed between the 2022 tournament organisers and Weill Cornell Medicine.

In a statement Tuesday World Cup organisers said workers, selected at random, are being tested for such things as diet, blood pressure, and kidney function.

Researchers say the results are primarily aimed at improving workers' nutritional requirements and could help other companies and Qatar deal with the country's harsh climate.

"The impact of this initiative... could be huge particularly if, as we hope, the findings are taken on board by other companies and international businesses operating in Qatar," said Weill's research leader Dr. Shahrad Taheri.

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.

The project began in February, the World Cup organising body, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said in a statement adding that the results will be published in a "detailed report".

The head of the supreme committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi, said the research could help uncover "health concerns among our workers".

“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,” he said.

The pilot programme, which will initially target a random sample of 1,000 workers on SC projects, will be broken down into the following stages:

Phase 1 – Health Checks & Reporting: WCM-Q to carry out health checks of 1,000 workers to determine prevalence of health related issues; including but not limited to: 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 2 & 3;
Phase 2 – Awareness & Training Campaign (workers, contractors & caterers): WCM-Q to 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;
Phase 3 – Catering Enhancement & Reporting: WCM-Q to work collaboratively with contractors and catering suppliers to recommend nutritional food options for the sample of 1,000 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. 

The launch of the programme follows a number of other significant steps the SC has taken in the last 12 months to improve the welfare of workers on SC construction projects, including the signing of an MoU with the

Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) for joint accommodation and site inspections, and the appointment of an independent third party compliance monitor.

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 as various projects approach completion or the main works stage, with Khalifa International Stadium expected for completion in Q2 2017 and the Al Wakrah and Qatar Foundation stadiums both rapidly heading towards their completion dates in 2018.

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