Saturday December 14, 2019

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Launches New School Health Policy

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DHA’s Primary Healthcare Sector
"The Webb Ellis Cup completes visit to Du" (CC BY 2.0) by landrovermena

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has begun a brand-new policy dedicated to promoting safer, healthier environments for school pupils throughout the capital. The plans, confirmed by Dr Manal Al Taryam, CEO of the DHA’s Primary Healthcare Sector, are closely aligned with the Dubai Health Strategy 2016-2021 and the UAE National Health Agenda Vision 2021. The latter is targeting a reduction of childhood obesity from 14.4% to 12% during the next three years.

The policy follows long-standing complaints by the DHA and doctors across Dubai regarding the lack of healthy food on offer for pupils. The implementation of less junk food in school canteens should go together with the significant increase in the number of vegetarian restaurants throughout UAE, making fresh, healthy food more accessible to families every day. For example, Deliveroo.ae now works with vegetarian takeaways who are passionate about delivering flavoursome and delicious dishes throughout Dubai, without any kind of health compromise.

new policy will see the launch of 12 programmes relevant to private schools across the emirate
Home A1C” (CC BY 2.0) by cogdogblog

The UAE has the 16th highest rate of diabetes worldwide, with more than a third (38%) of all Type 2 diabetics expected to develop diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition which can lead to permanent loss of sight. The new policy will see the launch of 12 programmes relevant to private schools across the emirate, targeting disease prevention, early detection of conditions and teaching students the benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle.

Schools will be asked to help pupils reach the daily target of five portions of fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as increase the length and breadth of their physical education lessons to 150 minutes per pupil each week. The DHA is targeting a closer alignment with schools by developing a database and an integrated health information system through HASANA, documenting pupils’ data, schools’ health services accreditations and unifying school infrastructure.

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Dr Al Taryam said at the launch of the new policy insisted a “holistic school health environment” was essential to “protect” the long-term health and interests of the next generation and “bring out the best in them”. He added that the policy had been designed in collaboration “with various governmental authorities” to create a “truly comprehensive school health policy”.

Last year, Dr Shadi Hani Tabba, a consultant paediatric endocrinologist at Dubai Diabetes Centre claimed a considerable number of his younger patients had resorted to consuming fast food “every day”. Re-educating the benefits of fresh, healthy food is a huge task, but something that must happen “across society” according to Dr Shadi Hani Tabba.

Diet issues have been found in some pre-school children as young as three and four, with a study of toddlers in Al Ain suggesting minimal nutritional awareness or commitment from pupils’ parents. Worryingly, many of the parents of the children involved in the study were unconcerned by the weight of their kids, with some even considering a slightly overweight child to be a sign of their family’s prosperity. For the new school health policy to prove successful for all Emirati children, it will require significant buy-in from parents as well as school staff to demonstrate the importance of leading a healthier, more active lifestyle.

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Delhi to Have Full-Fledged Schools on Lines of NSD

There should be one centre that can cater to two-three states

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Delhi, Schools, NSD
Right now, students from across the country have to come to NSD in Delhi and first learn Hindi. Wikimedia Commons

Stressing that the National School of Drama (NSD) in the capital was committed to opening three new centres across the country, besides doubling the duration of its one-year courses at its already existing regional centres in Bangalore, Varanasi and Sikkim, Suresh Sharma, Director-in-Charge, NSD told IANS that the school had already appealed to the Ministry of Culture for the same.

“This assumes paramount importance as people whose mother tongue is not Hindi should be imparted training in the language they plan to work in. Right now, students from across the country have to come to NSD in Delhi and first learn Hindi. There should be one centre that can cater to two-three states,” Sharma said.

Besides this, the school also plans to start a one-year course in writing for theatre in Maharashtra. “In fact, as an experiment, we held a workshop in Pune that started last year in October,” he said.

Sharma believes that these centres should not be ‘regional’ in essence, but in fact operate on the lines of IITs and IIMs.

Delhi, Schools, NSD
This assumes paramount importance as people whose mother tongue is not Hindi should be imparted training in the language they plan to work in. Wikimedia Commons

“The idea is to have full-fledged schools on the lines of NSD in Delhi.”

All set to organise the 11th-edition of Bal Sangam from November 9-12 at its premises, he said that theatre and folk performances are a great learning medium for exploring and sensitising children towards different contemporary issues.

“Such activities and festivals are a wonderful platform to not just perform, but learn, travel, and share. NSD believes that theatre makes a person sensitive towards issues and an active participant of society as it boosts powers of communication. Theatre brings in all these qualities and if children are introduced to this wonderful, they become better human beings,” Sharma noted.

Talk to him about the fact that non-metros seldom get to witness quality theatre and he asserts, “Earlier, the Bharat Rang Mahotsav used to be organised only in Delhi and satellite towns. However, things changed from last year and the festival travelled across the country. In fact, this year too, we plan to take it to places like Dehradun, Nagpur, Jorhat and Tejpur. This holds true for ‘Summer Theatre’ too, which was restricted only to Delhi. Last year, shows were held at diverse places like Patna, Benaras, and Aurangabad.”

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Stating that NSD, wanted to take its activities beyond Delhi too as the capital and other metros like Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore, are quite active as far as theatre was concerned, he added, “It is in smaller towns that we need to get theatre to. We want to do that through workshops, shows, theatre festivals, technical training workshops in coming times.”

Lamenting that corporate support for independent theatre was limited to a handful of groups doing commercial English work, Sharma, who has been active in the theatre scene for more than three decades now, asserted, “It’s done as part of their CSR. Support needs to be given to groups who are doing excellent creative work and boast of a vision. The commercial ones can still survive tickets. The ones who really need support are the groups in smaller towns, doing. If they get, I am sure the condition of theatre in contemporary times will undergo a sea change.”

With his next production, based on Jallianwala Bagh, Sharma plans go on a large canvas. “It may be staged at Ferozeshah Kotla and the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, if possible.” (IANS)