Ahmed Mohammed Al gharib is an international student from the UAE who is currently studying public health at Salford. Public Health is still developing in the UAE. Ahmed has written a short reflection around his thoughts about the importance of Public Health to the UAE.
Two major factors in UAE are of particular importance to public health; the very high socio-economic status; and the impact of the built environment. In this regard, there is a larger population of wealthy individuals from all over the world who live in the UAE. In the major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi it is not common to see poorer-class citizens. This socio-economic status is likely to impact on their health.
The wealth of the country has led to a huge increase in the number of tower blocks being built. Within these, there is an emphasis on using the most up-to date technologies available, so potentially relying a lot at technology during work and/or at home, (e.g. through “smart house”) which is also likely to impact health conditions. In particular, the Gulf countries face pretty high diabetic and obese populations compared to other countries. This is in part due to the wealthy lifestyle and the consistent cultural/traditional hospitality; i.e. invitations to dinners with a huge amount of food. Culture plays a major role in this.
In the region:
I believe that the Public Health sector, when working alongside other professional sectors in cross-sectional teams, will carry out research that can work towards resolving many complex problems in the UAE and Gulf countries -that are a cause of mortality and morbidity. Public Health staff are very useful, as they think critically about an issue to determine its origins, work along management and policy makers, and implement strategic decisions that will improve health, and health care delivery. Advanced methods in public health have the potential to help people and organisations to cope with the rapid technological/industrial and organizational issues in the UAE to make the best possible decisions in relation to health and wellbeing. There is also the potential for aspects of public health maximizing productivity, profitability, and life satisfaction within the region.
In addition, there is a need for being ready to deal with future challenges resulting from changes in the interaction between people and the environment and implementing epidemiological skills to the field of public health. It is also important to correlate environmental and Public Health concepts to protect the citizens and the environment from stressors or contaminants there. Particularly as the weather in UAE gets very hot during summer times; it over 54 Celsius! As such there is a need for public health solutions in relation to this area and suitable interventions and education.
Implementing the theoretical and practical knowledge of Public Health (e.g. in relation to communicable and non-communicable diseases) within the UAE has the potential to have a stronger impact compared to other countries.