Team Proposals

The nine teams at the PHTT 2018 conference came up with intervention proposals that tackle the issue of cardiovascular diseases with a focus on hypertension. Take a look at the team’s proposed interventions and presentations!

Fujairah

The Tarabut health program is an educational initiative seeking to improve the curriculum and the transparency of the health awareness program established in UAE community schools. The after-school program will digress from conventional lecture styles of teaching, and will instead incorporate interactive, technological, and peer-to-peer based learning environments. Tarabut will be run by high school/college volunteers who receive the necessary training through physicians, nutritionists, and counsellors. The target population consists of middle-school children aged 9-13 years. Tarabut targets this demographic as research emphasizes the importance of decreasing childhood obesity as a strategy to combat cardiovascular diseases (CVD); the WHO reveals that childhood obesity predicts adulthood obesity, and additional research illustrates that 70% of obese children have at least one CVD risk factor. Given the high prevalence of obesity in the UAE population, this intervention is an effective initiative to reduce the incidence of CVD. The interactive, peer to peer education program will address topics including healthy versus unhealthy food choices, exercise, cooking, and body-image. The hour long, weekly program will run from October to December and will be segregated into a male and a female class. Technology will be incorporated in class through the integration of videos and designing of posters. In addition to creating an interactive learning environment for children, Tarabut also seeks to involve parents by encouraging them to attend an end of program event in which children demonstrate the skills they acquired through the program, and give parents an opportunity to directly engage in health education.

FUJAIRAH

Dubai

South Asian males constitute the largest proportion of the United Arab Emirates population.  According to Shah et al. in 2016, 30.5% of them suffer from hypertension. What is equally troubling is the fact that 76% of those suffering from hypertension were completely unaware of their condition, and only 8.3% had it under control.

In line with the UAE’s Vision 2012 to reduce costs and improve the healthcare system by reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes, we are implementing a month-long pilot program – Heart-to-heart Campaign – that aims to reduce the cardiovascular risk factors of the target population.

Methods:

  • Developing a month-long heart health awareness campaign in a selected labor camp*
  • Hiring a team of medical volunteers to performing screening of the participants (measuring their blood pressure, blood sugar and BMI once every Friday)
  • Distributing a survey with questions assessing their lifestyle and CVD awareness
  • Conducting lectures and workshops aiming to educate participants about risk factors and methods of prevention of CVDs
  • Engaging the participants in fun physical activities to emphasize the importance of physical exercise on heart health
  • Instalment of exercise equipment (i.e. weights)
  • Provision of healthy food and fresh produce every day during the duration of the program through donations
  • Evaluating effectiveness by taking the blood pressure, BMI and blood sugar levels every Friday, and by distributing another survey at the end of the pilot program assessing the respondents’ CVD awareness

*All materials and lectures will be disseminated and conducted in Urdu, Hindi and Bengali

DUBAI

Abu Dhabi

Knowing about the under diagnosis of hypertension within the US population, we can assume a similar situation in the UAE. In addition, CVD and obesity are more prevalent in the UAE, giving rise to more reason to explore this area; an area that could lessen long term health issue. Our goal is to target the behavioral risk factor associated with HT. We suggest implementing in schools a semi-technological approach. This would include a game for children, that involves a token economy, personalized avatars, and health-based stats, and for guardians, an app with notifications, advice, and activity. The main targets of the programs would be smoking, diet, and exercise. This approach would be implemented through persuaders and developers who are gathered from colleges in exchange for volunteering hours. The persuaders, preferably individuals who communicate well, would attempt to convince headmasters to allow the implementation of tracker bands, new physical education frameworks, and social gatherings. The developers, preferably tech savvy individuals, would be responsible for building the app and transferring data to the core managing program. The managing core will be helped by a professional data analysis company to better organize the data. The program will first be evaluated with a pilot program involving two schools over the course of 3 months. Surveys an data will also serve as checkpoints. Future steps after a successful implementation of the framework includes the reversing of the education programs, the hiring of individuals, and the creation of a government associated corporation.

Team Abu Dhabi_ Social Framework for Childhood Hypertension `ntervention

Sharjah

Of the many factors driving the high rates of cardiovascular disease in the UAE, diet is one of the simplest yet stubbornly hard-to-solve issues. A diet high in unhealthy fats and sodium is a part of daily life, a part of the culture, and a deeply ingrained habit that is not easily broken. Therefore, we have chosen an approach that presents a subtle but significant change to diet by identifying “Heart Approved” menu items at restaurants and venues across the city. We will approach restaurants across Abu Dhabi (starting with just Khalifa City for our pilot study) with Heart Approved branding and a recipe catalogue for heart healthy foods to be included in their menus. The restaurants will receive a comprehensive marketing package from us as well as benefit from publicity through our social media campaign. For the restaurants this will be a great way to gain visibility through free advertisement. Customers will have easily identifiable healthy options on most menus in the city which will make the transition to healthier eating smooth and simple. We will evaluate our intervention in Khalifa city by collecting data (blood pressure, frequency of visiting restaurants, etc) on residents 3 times over the span of 6 months while Khalifa city restaurants offer some of our recipes. We expect to see a decrease in average blood pressure over these 6 months. From there we can pitch our idea to restaurants and even supermarkets across Abu Dhabi. Our intervention requires few resources and will be very inexpensive to implement. At the same time it will be effective because it makes appealing and convenient food options available to all.

Heart Approved

Ajman

Hypertension is a prevalent issue in the UAE and is expected to increase in the future due to the lack of changes in lifestyle, especially among young people. Thus, our target population is the youth of the UAE and our goal is tackling multiple aspects: prevent progression of the disease, reduce the incidence of hypertension and educate people.
A multi-purpose automatic blood-pressure monitor will be implemented in local universities. Along with it will be an interactive screen with built-in software that educates users through educational videos and surveys, give a diagnostic report based on the measured blood pressure and the user’s biometrics, create personalized evaluations and suggestions on the user’s diet and lifestyle. Feedback will be taken from the users to help organizations and users themselves to monitor their cardiovascular health as well as the effectiveness of the program.
This intervention is very feasible and could be implemented in an adequate time frame.
The pilot program would be finished in four to six months since it only requires obtaining the machines, recruiting software engineers, and requesting the approval from university officials to implement the machines. It would take approximately three years to develop a sophisticated software and to get approval from more universities across the UAE for expansion of the program. We hope that through this program we can establish an engaging, user-friendly, and sustainable way to ease hypertension diagnosis, encourage youths to consciously monitor and manage their cardiovascular health regularly, and promote a nationwide awareness of the dangers of hypertension.

2018 PHTT AJMAN

Ras Al Khaimah

The UAE community is a diverse population with cardiovascular diseases as its primary health issue. About 60% of the UAE population are South Asian migrants which make up a substantial amount of the working population. The literature regarding the health status of these workers, especially those in labor camps, indicates an information gap. Thus, screening, identifying, and targeting the prevalence of disease in this subpopulation is essential for lowering the UAE’s burden of disease.
Our intervention consists of a pilot study involving workers in labor camps to assess their cardiovascular risk status, provide treatment, and encourage a healthier and happier lifestyle by promoting fitness tracking and awareness. Our campaign relies on the involvement of labor camps, universities, the Department of Health of Abu Dhabi (HAAD), and the Ministry of Happiness.
Doctors from HAAD and trained university students will be transported to labor camps to record blood pressure, BMI, glucose and lipid profiles. This data will be essential for bridging the information gap in UAE migrant worker health statistics. It will also serve the university students involved as a platform for community outreach and collecting research data. The most important aim is to benefit the workers through the provision of treatments and promotion of a happier lifestyle, through health monitoring via the fitness accessories provided.
Thus, this study will increase awareness about the importance of good cardiovascular health while simultaneously lowering the burden of disease and increasing happiness within a considerable subset of UAE population.

The Working Hearts Initiative

Umm Al Quwain

Thirty percent of deaths in the UAE are due to cardiovascular diseases and looking at the contributing risk factors, the most prominent were hypertension, diabetes and obesity. The aim of our intervention is to decrease the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases across the UAE through targeting the lifestyle habits such as diet, smoking and exercise which would prevent the onset of the risk factors. Our target population would be university students since a third of the UAE population is under 29 years old and the university educational setting would foster the sharing of knowledge. To implement this, summer camps that focus on physical activity and nutritional behavior will be introduced to university students for 3 weeks. These summer camps will focus on encouraging and educating them on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle that would reduce the incidence of CVD. The first week will be about facts, fields and fun. The second week of the camp will focus on implementing the fundamentals of eating and exercising habits. The third week will be their self-implementation of information they gathered over the past two weeks. At the end of the third week, they will be asked to report how easy was it for them to implement it during the third week and whether it can maintained in the long run. This allows students who were positively influenced to become ambassadors who will form associations which maintain the sustainability of our intervention through carrying out more camps and activities on other university campuses. We have carried out an online survey in which almost 75% were willing to volunteer and participate in summer camps that focused on their health which makes us hopeful that we will have a high participation rate and influence.

Improving Healthcare Programs

Al Ain

The aim of the intervention is to reduce the sodium intake by 15% among UAE citizens by introducing the use of a salt spoon. The salt spoon can be used during food preparation process, and it has a maximum volume of 2 grams. The household will be able to visualize and be aware of how much salt being used in meal preparation. To implement the intervention, we will start a pilot project in Khalifa City. The spoon will be distributed to each household with a brochure, which will include an instruction to use the salt spoon and basic knowledge about sodium intake and health. A QR code will also be provided, so that people can scan and get access to more health information as well as healthy recipes. After 1 year, the program will cooperate with DAMAN Health insurance and Department of Health to collect data of blood pressure and hypertension rate. Surveys can also be conducted with educational institutions in order to observe whether the objective – reducing the salt consumption by 1-1.5g/day – is met. If the pilot project is successful, the project will expand to cover a larger range of population by giving out the spoons and the brochures in supermarkets. Our intervention is essential because it raises people’s awareness of how sodium intake impacts hypertension, and improves the status quo by changing behavior. The intervention is cost effective, applicable to the population, and can be easily monitored.

Al Ain team

Liwa

The EAGLE program or “Eating, Active, Growing, Lifestyle, Education”, is an initiative to encourage the development of healthy lifestyle and cautious health behavior through skill-training and education in school children. A range of studies have shown the importance of childhood education on these matters, and that educating children shows a significantly improved behavioral change than on adults, this translates into reduced costs, improved awareness, and a healthy future population. Our goal is to give the children in the UAE the foundation to protect their health in all stages of life. This will be accomplished through a national level school program where schools will work with students to develop and implement various initiatives to meet standard that will reduce their risk factors of developing cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases  at later stages of life. EAGLE aims to address the issues of generally lacking evidence from well-designed trials and lack of evaluations of community-based interventions of CVD prevention at the population level. Our program also employs a multi-facet cross-sector approach to break the cycle of ‘silos’ in relation to public health issues, education, and community engagement issues. As is evident from the Weqaya and UAE Future Health study, NCDs are a major threat to the health of the nation. It has been reported that a significant proportion of individuals are facing an ever-growing threat from Cardiovascular disease brought about by hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and a range of co-morbidities and lifestyle risk factors. While other studies have shown the benefits of education programs on behavior change focusing on children instead of adults.

Liwa_PROPOSAL Public Health tank 2018 EAGLE