The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, has organised a comprehensive three-day training workshop in a proactive move aimed at bolstering the nation's healthcare infrastructure and ensuring the health and well-being of its youngest citizens. The “technical meeting–strengthening nutrition data” which took place in Dubai, focused on how to collect and analyse data concerning the growth and nutrition of children under the age of five. The initiative was primarily aimed at upgrading the national health system by enhancing the capacity of healthcare professionals to gather and interpret data related to child growth and nutrition. By equipping participants with the necessary knowledge and skills, the workshop also aimed to empower them on how to assess the current status of nutrition data for children under five and contribute to the development of effective solutions for any identified challenges. High-ranking officials attended the workshop, including Nouf Khamis Al Ali, Director of the Health Promotion Department at MoHAP, as well as representatives from different 8 federal and local entities. The event also welcomed a contingent of officials and nutritionists from the World Health Organisation. The workshop featured extensive discussions on the status of national nutrition data in the UAE and its alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals and global nutrition targets. In this context, the World Health Organisation provided critical technical support, offering its tools and methodologies for assessing and analyzing data quality, tracking progress, and facilitating the ongoing exchange of data. Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Public Health Sector, said: "The training workshop on analysing growth data for children under five is not just an event but a manifestation of our nation's strategic plan to assure a robust and sustainable future for our children. This initiative mirrors the Ministry's relentless endeavours to ward off diseases and fortify community health. “Emphasising proper nutrition during the pivotal early developmental years is a testament to our commitment, as we view children's health as a paramount national priority. This is all nested within our vision of a proactive and sustainable care system and our pursuit to establish nutritional frameworks that support the effort to improve the nutrition in the UAE. Al Rand went on to say, "Through this workshop, we aimed to develop a unified data collection system at the national level, empowering healthcare workers to expertly study and analyse data. We strive to provide them with the essential knowledge and tools to comprehend the current state of children's nutrition data and contribute to crafting effective solutions for any challenges we may encounter.” “We consistently encourage healthcare professionals to actively engage in such workshops, leveraging them to enhance their capabilities and make meaningful contributions to improving children's health and society's well-being. There’s no doubt that the UAE has become a global model in safeguarding children's rights and enhancing their welfare, particularly in healthcare."Al Rand added. Nouf Khamis Al Ali, Director of the Health Promotion Department at MoHAP, reiterated the Ministry's commitment to combating diseases and prioritising preventive health measures.
She emphasised that the workshop was a pivotal component of the Ministry's ongoing efforts to enhance the quality of data and information related to children's health. “Our goal was to raise awareness about the significance of monitoring children's growth and effectively analysing nutritional data to make informed health decisions. Enhancing capabilities in data collection and analysis is an integral part of the strategy to secure a healthier future for society,” Al Ali added. The workshop featured training sessions on monitoring the UAE's national nutrition data for children under five and evaluating these data before incorporating them into global databases.
Participants were also trained in the global methodology for estimating malnutrition as prescribed by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).