The Ministry of Public Health announced Wednesday its plans to improve the health of women and children in Qatar, within the work it's doing with its partners in the framework of the National Health Strategy (NHS) 2018-2022.
The strategy focuses particularly on the health of women, children, and adolescents. According to a recent STEPS survey, approximately 68% of Qatari women are overweight, 90% eat less than five servings of fruits or vegetables a day, and over 80% do not engage in physical activity.
A detailed plan was developed to ensure women are supported and empowered early in life to take care of themselves and their children through improved health literacy, in addition to offering them high-quality, coordinated care that guides them during pregnancy and beyond. The plan for this population group also aims to improve the monitoring of the causes of maternal complications, as well as national protocols and guidelines for maternity care in Qatar.
"A woman's health choices have a significant influence on her own health, as well as that of her children. Investing in women's health by providing the quality of the care and services provided, in addition to promoting healthy lifestyles, will result in significant health improvements for Qatar's future generation," said Dr. Najat Khenyab, NHS Lead for the 'Healthy Women Leading to Healthy Pregnancies' priority within the NHS 2018-2022.
Additionally, Qatar suffers from low rates of exclusive breastfeeding for children up to 6 months old, as well as high obesity rates in children, approximately 18% for boys and 15% for girls under 20 years old.
A health sector plan was developed to improve the health of children and adolescents in Qatar. The plan focuses on improving nutrition and promoting healthy lifestyles, by targeting both children as well as caregivers, including parents, teachers and caregivers. It also focuses on improving pediatric services, through offering high quality integrated healthcare for children. Efforts will be specifically directed towards reducing obesity and dental caries in children, and maintaining a high rate of vaccination coverage.
The NNHS Lead for 'Healthy Children and Adolescents', Dr. Sadriya Al Kohji said: "In order to give our children the best opportunity to lead a healthy and full life, it is important that the foundations of good health are part of their lifestyles from an early age. It is essential to involve families and to make sure they are equipped with the knowledge to make healthy changes."
A dedicated taskforce, including key stakeholders from different organisations from within and outside of the health sector, has been developed for both priority populations to oversee the implementation of the plans with the aim of achieving their targets by 2022.
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