x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

WHO survey of 5,000 families to inform national health care

More than 5,000 families in the UAE will be asked about their health next year as part of a global survey.

More than 5,000 families in the UAE will be asked about their health next year as part of a global survey, carried out by the World Health Organization. Once data is analysed, it will be used to help determine how to adjust healthcare programmes and policies to ensure that they work effectively. Each of the 70 countries participating in the survey has specifically tailored questionnaires, to the type and scale of each healthcare system as well as demographics.

Survey results will also be used to create a map indicating the types and availability of healthcare services around the world. Experts from WHO's health information system branch work closely with policy makers in each country to devise and implement the surveys. Some of the data collected include population-based statistics and household information as well as information on healthcare facilities, public health surveillance and other healthcare programmes.

An agreement between the Ministry of Health and Nestlé Middle East was signed yesterday to conduct the World Health Survey in the UAE. The survey will cost an estimated Dh4 million (US$1.1m). Nestlé Middle East, a food company, contributed Dh500,000. The WHO has characterised the UAE's healthcare system as generally good, with some of the main challenges being availability and cost. The organization has previously identified the rapid social, environmental and technological development in the country as factors that contribute to the UAE's challenge of continually upgrading its health services industry to maintain good health of its citizens and workforce. Improved organisation of health services, financing, resources and health education have been pointed to by the WHO as key issues.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality, followed by accidents, most of which are traffic-related. The prevalence of communicable diseases has declined in recent years. The survey will include 5,000 Emirati and expatriate families, and should be concluded by the end of March. @Email:jhume@thenational.ae