Friday, April 9, 2010

World Health Day April 7-10 (April 1-May 9), 2010 Saudi Arabia

Every year the World Health Organization, a specialized UN organization, based in Geneva Switzerland,  holds a World Health Day to focus attention on a particular theme in global public health. Although the "day" is to occur on April 7, in fact many celebrate World Health week, fortnight, or month. In the past themes have included Safe Blood (2000), Safe Roads (2004), Mental Health (2001), Health and Global Climate Change (2008), Safe Hospitals (2009). Although Healthier Cities was the theme in 1996, with growing urbanization,  Urban Health has returned as the theme for 2010, with both 1000 cities, and 1000 lives of major contributors to urban health being targets (now well surpassed).

About this year's theme: What is it all about?
Urbanization: a challenge for public health
Virtually all population growth over the next 30 years will be in urban areas, signaling that urbanization is here to stay. It is associated with many health challenges related to water, environment, violence and injury, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors like tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol as well as the risks associated with disease outbreaks. Urbanization is a challenge for several reasons.
• The urban poor suffer disproportionately from a wide range of diseases and other health problems, and include an increased risk for violence, chronic disease, and for some communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
• The major drivers, or social determinants, of health in urban settings are beyond the health sector, including physical infrastructure, access to social and health services, local governance, and the distribution of income and educational opportunities.
Solutions exist to tackle the root causes of urban health challenges
Urban planning can promote healthy behaviours and safety through investment in active transport, designing areas to promote physical activity and passing regulatory controls on tobacco and food safety. Improving urban living conditions in the areas of housing, water and sanitation will go a long way to mitigating health risks. Building inclusive cities that are accessible and age-friendly will benefit all urban residents.
Such actions do not necessarily require additional funding, but commitment to redirect resources to priority interventions, thereby achieving greater efficiency.
1000 lives: share the story of your local health champions
Individuals are a powerful force within urban settings making changes that have enormous health benefits for us all. Do you know someone who has made a real difference in the health of your city?
Then tell the world about it! The 1000 cities, 1000 lives campaign collects stories of urban health champions from around the world.

World Health Day 2010 Saudi Arabia

In addition to national level participation, Saudi Arabia has 15 cities participating from different regions, each with a focus on their own urban issues, as well as overlapping public health concerns, like nutrition, exercise, free physical examinations for all, and safe driving practices in keeping with the 4 goals of the WHO program on Urban Health. Stopping tobacco use is another one many cities have added in, as well as urban sanitation, and environmental health. Governorate and municipal officials as well as health care professionals and local volunteer groups are involved. Each participating city and its programme details are part of the World Health Day Interactive Map, here.

A summary follows, with added regional information and pictures.

West Region (Hijaz)

Emirate of Tabuk Province

The Emirate of Tabuk Province, capital Tabuk, Biblical and Quranic lands of Mayden, and Dedan;
where lived the descendants of Dedan, great-grandson of Ham, son of Noah

The Sinai Peninsula, seen from orbit, Gulf of Suez to the left, Gulf of Aqaba to the right

Al Haql seen from the sea; from Al Haql one can see the shores of Egypt, Israel, and Jordan

Al Haql World Health Day 2010 April 7-8
Planned activities include: routine physical exams for citizens; a drawing competition for students on environmental health topics; and a rally to instill a love of sports. More information is available on their website.

Emirate of Makkah Province

Makkah Province is the most populous of the KSA, and perhaps the best known, for its Holy City of Makkah, and its main port Jeddah

Nabatean ruins near Al Ula

Al Ula World Health Day 2010 April 7-10

Activities include a walk for all families; and, a clean up of the main park and adjacent garden by students.

The Lights of Modern Jeddah

Jeddah World Health Day 2010 April 3-8

A number of events are planned including street closings; a fun run; a drawing competition; and Health information (Nutrition, Home Safety, School Safety).

On April 8 the Stop TB Jeddah group, featured in the previous post on Stop TB Campaign Saudi Arabia, has planned to participate, with details on this Facebook site.

They were also the subject of a write-up in the Saudi Gazette which contains more information.
‘Stop TB group’ to take part in World Health Day
By Fouzia Khan
JEDDAH – As part of World Health Day activities, the Jeddah-based Stop TB group plans to launch an awareness campaign at the Corniche near the American Polyclinic on Thursday.
The campaign is patronized by Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Khoja, Minister of Culture and Information, who will be present to inaugurate the event.
World Health Day, sponsored by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, aims to increase public awareness of the importance of health and all its related fields.
Mohammed Bakhriba, the founder of the Stop TB group, said that they will be part ofWorld Health Day 2010 and cooperate with the UN-WHO and Saudi Health Ministry as a part of a global movement to make Saudi cities healthier.
With the campaign “1,000 cities – 1,000 lives”, events will be organized worldwide calling on cities to open up streets for health activities. Stories of urban health champions will be illustrated to highlight what people are doing to improve health in their cities.
Thursday’s event at the Corniche will also involve fitness professionals, nutritionists, environmental specialists, leaders and celebrities to emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle, Bakhriba added.
“This year’s World Health Day will focus on urbanization and health. According toWHO research, over three billion people live in cities. In 2007, the world’s population living in cities surpassed 50 percent for the first time in history,” he explained. “By 2030, six out of every 10 people will be city dwellers, rising to seven out of every 10 people by 2050,” he added.
The global goals of the campaign are to open up public spaces for health activities, town hall meetings, clean-up campaigns, or closing off portions of streets to motorized vehicles in 1,000 cities and collect 1,000 stories of urban health champions who have taken action and had a significant impact on health in their cities. – SG

Al Jamoom World Health Day 2010 April 1


Emirate of Al Bahah Province

A small province south of Makkah, famous for the Al Bouljarshi Souk, among others

Under the Red Sea off the coastal city of Al Qunfudhah

Al Qunfudhah World Health Day 2010 April 9-May 9

In keeping with extending the "day" to a month, Al Qunfudhah planners have a broad list of activities: closing 2 streets for an 8km walk; inviting famous athletes to participate; making a healthy meal for distribution; an anti-smoking campaign; an awareness campaign about good driving habits; free physical exams with the participation of the private sector; and, seminars on social issues.

South Region

Emirate of 'Asir Province

Al 'Asir Province's southern most tip borders Yemen. As the province is on a high plateau it receives more rainfall than the Saudi average, and is a fertile area for wheat and fruit growing

Mountainous 'Asir Province, diurnal variation in temperatures are the most extreme in the world

Wadi Bisha Dam, the largest dam in KSA, and the second largest concrete dam in the Middle East

Bisha World Health Day 2010 April 3-12

Bisha, an extended oasis city, which also has a website about the day, has a range of activities planned for a 10-day program: a sports day with the participation of all, including celebrities, and the governor; a walking march; a cleanup day with the governor and the community; and, a stand with traffic police to urge correct observation of traffic rules.

Abha, 'Asir Province

Abha World Health Day 2010 April 7

The capital of 'Asir Province, Abha plans for a walk with the governorate officials, and light games.

North Region

Emirate of Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah Province

The least populous province of the KSA, most of it borders Iraq, 
while the western portion borders Jordan

Green space, Turayf

At Turayf World Health Day 2010 April 7-8

This city near the Jordan border, in the triangle of Saudi Arabia called Winston's Hiccup, plans sports participation for all.

A fortification along the Wadi Sirhan incense trade route

Winston's Hiccup is an apocryphal and euphemistic expression for Churchill drawing the border between Jordan and Arabia, so as to prevent Jordan from having a major trade route, between Damascus and the Arabian interior, the Wadi Sirhan. This triangular extension of Arabian land creates the Jordan panhandle; and also, rather conveniently  for Britain, an airspace corridor to stave off French ambitions in the Middle East, and maintain a connection from the Mediterranean to India.

Ar'ar Mosque

Ar'ar World Health Day 2010

The capital of "The Northern Borders" Emirate/Province, Arar has a number of plans mainly focused on prevention of hypertension and diabetes: walking for all from Arar HC, led by regional senior figures, with community participation, especially by those with chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes, to highlight the importance of sport for all.

Centre Region (Najd)

Emirate of Al-Qasim Province

Almost in the centre of the country, it is the agricultural heartland, or "food basket"

Leeks growing in Al Qassim Province

Al-Bukayria World Health Day 2010 April 7

This agricultural city plans an educational and cultural walk to inform the community about projects implemented and those underway.

Emirate of Ar Riyad Province

The second largest province physically and the second most populous, 
after the Eastern Province and Makkah respectively

Jalajil World Health Day 2010 April 7

April 7th in Jalajil, a city in the historic Sudair region of the Najd, will be the launch of the World Health Day 2010 programme and planned activities, in the presence of His Excellency the President of the Center (Chairman of the Local Committee for the Healthy Cities Program), government officials, citizens, and school students.

Ad Dir'iyah Fortress

Ad Dir’iyah World Health Day 2010 April 7-8

This particularly historic city has a number of diverse activities planned to include a school football tournament; a campaign for awareness of the importance of fruits and vegetables, of the dangers of smoking, and for the prevention of smoking in public places; a clean up of a neighbourhood; planting of trees and flowers in homes and gardens; a blood donation campaign; and, a meeting between officials and individuals particularly active in health promotion in the city in keeping with the WHO's 1000 individuals theme, along with its 1000 cities theme.

Riyadh--Road Safety is one of the 4 goals of the Urban Health theme of World Health Day 2010

Riyadh World Health Day 2010 April

Riyadh, as the national capital, seems most focused on coordinating from the ministerial level activities around the theme of World Health Day 2010, including academic and international symposia, and instructions to regional health authorities.
 From Biomed Middle East Health Care Intelligence
Written By: jamal on April 7, 2010 Courtesy
23 experts to participate in Saudi Medicare forum 2010
RIYADH – The first-ever Radiology Technologists Conference to be organized concurrently with the four-day Saudi Medicare 2010 from April 12 at Riyadh International Exhibition Center is set to present new applications and scientific research papers by 23 medical experts from around the world, said Mohammed Al-Hussaini, Deputy General Manager, Riyadh Exhibitions Company (REC), the organizer of the event.
Al-Hussaini said the 4th Medical Devices Scientific Forum, accredited by the Saudi Council for Health Specialties will focus on topics related to medical devices technology and management and the challenges that health professionals working in the field are facing.
Saudi Medicare 2010 – the 13th International Healthcare, Hospital Supplies and Medical Equipment Show – will have the participation of world-renowned specialists from Saudi Arabia, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, he said.
The medical experts will provide in-depth discussions in areas such as medical imaging, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy and radiation protection, he said.
“The forum supports the Kingdom’s efforts to improve medical facilities and restructure the management of 218 government hospitals into private enterprises,” he explained.
Al-Hussaini said that through these forums, REC intends to provide in-depth discussions and create awareness about the latest advances in medical devices technology and radiology.
Moreover, he said the forum will also serve as an excellent networking platform, particularly “in view of ongoing efforts to enhance medical facilities and privatize government hospitals across Saudi Arabia”.
The Radiology Technologists Conference, he said, will be of great interest as it is the first-ever event to focus on the future prospects and challenges of radiology technologists in Saudi Arabia.
Some of the world’s leading practitioners, including 23 high-profile speakers from Saudi Arabia and other countries will attend the 4th Medical Devices Scientific Forum, he said.
The Saudi Food and Drug Authority, the organizer of the forum, has prepared a diverse range of topics considered crucial in medical services. They include health care informatics, health education and consumer awareness, and the challenges that the regulatory authorities in Saudi Arabia are facing, said Al-Hussaini.
Saudi Eye Care 2010 – the 6th International Eye Care and Optical Technology Exhibition – and Saudi Dentistry 2010 – the 9th International Dental Health Exhibition – will also be held concurrently with Saudi Medicare 2010.

Eastern Region

Emirate of Ash Sharqiyah Province (Eastern Province)

The largest province,  bordering on  Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen, and connected by a causeway with Bahrain. Saudi's Persian Gulf province

From the Zulfi or Zelfi city website

Al Zulfi World Health Day 2010 April 7-9

In their entry on the WHO interactive map for World Health Day, Al Zulfi lists a dozen activities: physical and mental training; day for sports and entertainment in the presence of celebrities; sleep early and wake up early
days for healthy food; 2010 year for sports and physical activity; days to refrain from smoking; clean-up campaign; tree planting; a day for visits; good driving habits; free physical examinations; and school competitions.

Al Khobar, Corniche

Al Khobar World Health Day April 7-9
10 topics are part of World Health Day in Al-Khobar: physical activity; food safety; environmental sanitation; school health; school traffic safety; chronic diseases; craft activities; heritage preservation; anti-smoking; and home safety.

Near Al Haql, Gulf of Aqaba
"Isle of Graia Gulf of Akabah Arabia Petraea" (1839) Illus. in: The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia,  from drawings made there by David Roberts; lithograph by Louis Haghe

Addendum: Photos from the Stop TB Jeddah group's World Health Day activities, thanks to Mohammad Bakhrieba, organizer!

Photo by Mohammad Bakhrieba

Photo by Mohammad Bakhrieba

What has been your experience of World Health Day?
 How would you describe awareness and activities in your city?
What do you see as the primary urban health needs of your city?
How could those needs be better met:?
Which of the 4 urban health goals seems to you to be the greatest priority?
Whom do you know who has contributed significantly to urban health?
A colleague was once told pre-medicine that if he wanted to help people he should become an engineer and create healthy environments--would you agree?
Any other comments, thoughts, experiences?


Susanne said...

I have been out of town this weekend so I'm just catching up on some posts I missed on the blogs. I really enjoyed the lovely pictures you shared here! :)

Chiara said...

Susanne--thanks for your comment! I was wondering about your uncharacteristic silence! I hope you had a good weekend. I am glad you liked the photos. One gets quite a different appreciation of Saudi than the usual. I was very impressed that so many smaller cities were making such efforts for World Health Day. As they were names I hadn't heard of I thought to share the geographical information with others. Hopefully there will be more photos of the actual day to add.

Thanks again for your comment!


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