A profile and approach to chronic disease in Abu Dhabi
Department of Public Health & Research, Health Authority Abu Dhabi, Airport Rd, PO Box 5674, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Globalization and Health 2012, 8:18 doi:10.1186/1744-8603-8-18Published: 27 June 2012
As a country, the United Arab Emirates has developed very rapidly from a developing country with a largely nomadic population, to a modern and wealthy country with a Western lifestyle. This economic progress has brought undoubted social benefits and opportunities for UAE citizens, including a high and increasing life expectancy. However, rapid modernization and urbanization have contributed to a significant problem with chronic diseases, particularly obesity-related cardiovascular risk. In response the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi has significantly strengthened its data systems to better assess the baseline and measure the impact of targeted interventions. The unique population-level Weqaya Programme for UAE Nationals living in Abu Dhabi has recruited more than 94% of adults into a screening programme for the rapid identification of those at risk and the deployment of targeted interventions to control that risk. This article describes the burden of non-communicable disease in Abu Dhabi, and the efforts made by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi to tackle this burden including the development of a whole population cardiovascular screening programme changes to health policy, particularly in terms of lifestyle and behaviour change, and empowerment of the community to enable individuals to make healthier choices. In addition, recommendations have been made for global responsibility for tackling chronic disease.