Ministry of Public Health Signs Memorandum of Understanding with WCM-Q and Al Meera to Promote Healthy Eating Habits

The Ministry of Public Health (MPH) signed today (Tuesday April 12th) a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) and Al Meera Consumer Goods Company (Q.S.C) to launch a public health awareness campaign, with the aim of providing the public with a wide range of valuable nutrition information through posters displayed at a number of Al Meera branches across Qatar. The posters are intended to help consumers take informed decisions regarding their healthy and balanced diets.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Saleh bin Ali Al-Marri, Assistant Secretary General for Medical Affairs at the Ministry of Public Health; Dr. Javaid Sheikh, Dean, WCM-Q, represented at the ceremony by Nesreen Al-Rifai, Chief Communications Officer at WCM-Q; and Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Qahtani, Deputy CEO of Al Meera. 

“This MoU is part of our concerted efforts to promote public health awareness, especially as far as healthy diet is concerned, and the Ministry of Public Health attaches special importance to raising health awareness in the community in cooperation with all concerned partners,” said Dr. Al-Marri.    

He added that the Qatar STEPS Noncommunicable Disease Risk Factors Survey 2012 showed that the majority of adult Qataris (91%) consumed less than five servings of fruits and/or vegetables on average per day, 45.9% of them had low physical activity, 41.4% of the respondents were obese and 70% were overweight. 

“These worrying numbers add to the importance of this crucial campaign which aligns with other important efforts, particularly the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan, part of the National Health Strategy,” Dr. Al-Mari added. 

Dr. Al-Marri applauded the fruitful cooperation between MPH and WCM-Q which resulted in several initiatives, most important of which is Sahtak Awalan - Your Health First which has largely contributed to promoting health awareness amongst the different segments of the community in cooperation with other partners. He also commended the cooperation between MPH and the private sector to enhance public health awareness, with the fruitful cooperation with Al Meera setting a good example in this regard.

“Al Meera is committed to its role in social development, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, and thus is keen on supporting initiatives that aim to promote food safety and healthy eating habits,” said Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Qahtani, Deputy CEO of Al Meera.  

Dr. Al Qahtani stressed the importance of the MoU and the cooperation of the concerned parties to spread health awareness in the country, saying that Al Meera contributes in spreading this message through its health awareness posters displayed at five  of its branches as a first step, namely Legtaifiya, Gulf Mall, Al Wakra (South), Thakhira and Géant Hypermarket, with plans to roll out the program later at more branches.

The MoU stipulates that MPH will set up a task force to help with preparing and revising the posters, implement the health program at workplaces, carry out a survey to assess the needs of Al Meera employees (pre-survey) and conduct health check-ups for them. The MoU also involves a mutually beneficial exchange of expertise. The MPH will provide advice to all parties concerned whenever needed, promote wellness at workplaces, and assess public health knowledge and awareness (post-survey).

WCM-Q will contribute to nutrition information of the posters in accordance with the MPH’s Qatar Dietary Guidelines and will set up a work force to help with implementing the program and preparing the posters.

Al Meera will also set up a task force that will help with implementing the nutrition posters program and promoting healthy lifestyles, will host awareness activities at suitable times and will encourage consumers to adopt healthier lifestyles.