The UAE Cabinet has established a national task force to address public health challenges facing the country.
The National Public Health Committee, led by Abdulrahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, will ensure authorities are prepared to respond to pressing health issues and help raise awareness of potential risks and factors impacting public well-being.
The formation of the committee was approved during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
The new body, which will be part of the Ministry of Health, will review strategies aimed at protecting public health, implement preventative strategies, co-ordinate response plans and develop research and studies in partnership with various government departments.
The committee will be made up of representatives from the health ministry, the Presidential Court, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, the Emirates Health Services Corporation, Abu Dhabi's Department of Health, Dubai Health Authority, Sharjah Health Authority and private sector organisations.
During the Cabinet meeting, the existing Health Council was reformed for a further three years.
It will also be headed by the health minister and its work will centre on health legislation, insurance and supporting the growth of research and education in the sector.
The decision allows for the council to draw up strategies related to pandemics and to make decisions in partnership with relevant authorities.
Long-term bid to boost health
The UAE is already taking steps to improve the health and well-being of its population.
In March, the UAE Taskforce on Obesity held its first meeting.
It focuses on educating children aged from 5 to 17 on the dangers of being obese, focusing on healthy eating, weight management, exercise and nutrition.
"Combating obesity is a public health priority, while treating it requires raising awareness about obesity and its complications," said Dr Hussain Al Rand, assistant under secretary for the public health sector at the Ministry of Health, at the time.
The UAE's national health agenda also emphasises the importance of preventive medicine and promoting healthier lifestyles — such as better diets and cutting smoking levels — to reduce cancer rates and the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
The Emirati Genome Programme was set up in 2020 under a long-term strategy to prevent disease and offer the most suitable treatments.
Researchers said the end goal is to collect samples from all of the Emirati population – about one million people – but as a voluntary programme.
"The purpose of the programme is to use genome data to further enhance health care in the UAE, with a focus on hereditary conditions," Dr Walid Zaher, chief research officer at G42 Healthcare, told The National last year.
“So far we have collected tens of thousands of samples, and that number is rapidly increasing as we speak.