x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

UAE mobile clinic helps fight peril of hypertension

Free tests and lessons on how to measure your blood pressure will soon be available in Dubai.

DUBAI // A mobile clinic will teach patients to measure their blood pressure.

The clinic, which it is hoped will treat 50,000 Emiratis, will start operating in October after medical staff complete a specialised training course.

Dr Muna Al Kuwari, director of primary health care at the Ministry of Health, said undiagnosed cases of hypertension were among the major obstacles to improving overall health.

"Despite the efforts of the ministry to release and update guidelines for managing hypertension, effective treatment remains contentious," she said.

"Our society still does not believe in primary health care, they still think that just visiting the hospital when you're ill is the answer."

The mobile clinic will offer free testing and will teach people how to test their blood pressure at home."This clinic will focus mostly on rural neighbourhoods," Dr Al Kuwari said.

"It will also look at areas that potentially have a high number of hypertension cases," Dr Al Kuwari told the Cardiometabolic Risk Assessment Forum yesterday.

Dr Azzan Salem Binbrek, a consultant cardiologist at Rashid Hospital, said there was an alarming obesity trend.

"The UAE is fourth in the world when it comes to obesity in women," he said.

"Thirty one per cent of women in the UAE are obese compared with just 18 per cent of men. But the really scary figure is that 30 per cent of children between 6 and 16 years old are obese - this is higher than the US."

Dr Binbrek said stricter regulation may be needed to combat child obesity.

"The government has taken steps to improve the quality of food in schools, but in light of these figures that is not enough," he said.

"The government might want to look at preventing fast food businesses from operating near schools."

Dr Omar Hallab, the chief intervention cardiologist at the American Hospital in Dubai, spoke about the latest trend of one-pill solutions for the treatment of multiple ailments.

"The more pills you prescribe the less likely they are to take them," he said. "Research shows that half the patients stop taking their medication after one year.

"Doctors have to use their wisdom when treating patients - this is not like following a recipe from a cookbook."