ABU DHABI // A member of the FNC has called for regular, compulsory health checks for all residents.
At this week’s FNC session, Marwan bin Ghalita (Dubai) questioned the Minister of Health, Dr Abdul Rahman Al Owais, over the ministry’s efforts to screen for common illnesses including cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Dr Al Owais told Mr bin Ghalita the ministry was already carrying out routine check-ups for new mothers and their babies, and in schools.
It was also studying the most prevalent illnesses to plan strategies to battle them.
But Mr bin Ghalita said few people were actually having the health checks. He reminded the minister that the Government’s vision for 2021 on health services promises the right to a healthy life and early intervention.
“No doubt our Government is trying to provide us with health care for all Emiratis,” he said. “But there is very little culture of regular medical checks.”
Unless people were in pain or noticed an obvious change, they rarely went to the doctor, Mr bin Ghalita said.
“Many illnesses start silently”, including high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers, he said.
“They all start silently until they take control of the body and then the pain comes. A young man found out that he has stage-four cancer in a day and night, without any previous warning.
“Four is the most dangerous. You can imagine the pain the Emirati family is in.”
Mr Ghalita said the ministry and FNC should work together to come up with a new check-up plan to ensure a “happy and healthy life”.
Dr Al Owais agreed many people were unaware of the importance of check-ups.
“The world is moving towards early intervention and trying to stop the rise of chronic illness,” he said. “These sicknesses lead to high costs. There is no solution except early intervention. It all goes back to a culture of going for check-ups.”
Mr bin Ghalita said the Cabinet should be given a deadline to consider the costs of mandatory regular health check-ups for all those between the ages of five and 10, and 30 and 40.
Results of the study needed to be referred back to the FNC, he said.
“From my personal experience, when studying in America, we had to do a health check-up before every semester or else we could not register,” Mr bin Ghalita said.
“We want this to be legally mandatory for the whole country, with a time limit for it to be studied.”
Dr Mona Al Bahar (Dubai) expressed concern over the rise in hospital bugs.
She said it was possible hospital cleaners were helping to spread bacteria unintentionally, and that corners should not be cut.
Dr Al Owais said the ministry was planning to make changes to hospital cleaning.