DUBAI- Holiday shoppers at The Dubai Mall have delivered a new Guinness World Records title for a UAE health drive launched to tackle heart-related illnesses, an initiative set up by Benchmark Middle East and Merck Serono Middle East and Near East.
A total of 8,675 Mall-goers took blood sugar level checks during an eight-hour diabetes screening yesterday at 40 nursing stations set up by the One Heart Health Community at the start of a campaign to tackle cardiovascular disease.
The previous world record for blood sugar level checks was held by the Turkish Diabetes Foundation who screened 7,024 people over eight hours in Istanbul in 2012.
His Excellency Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, Director General of the DHA, dedicated the latest landmark achievement to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Chairman of DHA.
He also expressed his profound thanks to other stakeholders, including the Dubai Diabested Center, Emirates Diabetes Society and the Emirates Cardiac Society and Benchmark.
Al Maidoor said: “At the DHA, it is our aim to carry out health education campaigns to empower the community to make the right choices with regard to their health.
“We are pleased that this campaign has won the world record, and it is our aim to continue such campaigns on a regular basis as part of our commitment to improving community health. We firmly believe that prevention and early detection are key to ensure a healthier population.”
Dr Manal Taryam, CEO of Primary Healthcare at the DHA said: “Prevention is key to tackling lifestyle diseases and through such campaigns, we hope to educate people about the need to lead a healthy lifestyle and conduct regular health screenings so that they are aware of their health status and can make timely decisions to prevent or manage lifestyle diseases”
Dr Mohammed Hamed Farooqi, Director of the Dubai Diabetes Centre, said: “Given the prevalence of diabetes in this region and abroad, it is imperative to carry out such awareness campaigns to educate the community.
“Diabetes is a disease that affects all parts of the body and one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease is diabetes. It is important, therefore, to educate people on ways to prevent developing the disease as well as to educate diabetics on how to keep their sugar levels under control.”
“We’re very happy to be supporting this initiative because we believe it can achieve so much,” said Dream Samir, Managing Director at Merck Serono Middle and Near East. “Increasing the awareness of diseases like hypertension and diabetes is the first step towards empowering patients to proactively contribute to their treatment journey.”
Endorsed by Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Diabetes Center, Emirates Diabetes Society and the Emirates Cardiac Society, yesterday’s screening marked the first phase of an ongoing awareness drive which will now aim to claim two more Guinness World Records titles later this year for most blood pressure readings and most cholesterol readings.
“This was the perfect start for what is a very serious initiative to underline to people from all walks of life in the UAE the risk factors of heart-related illnesses and the importance of a healthy lifestyle,” said Mohamed Hammad, Founder and Managing Director at Benchmark Middle East, FZ-LLC, the initiator of the One Heart Health Community.
“We’re delighted to have claimed a new Guinness World Records title and we will go all out to take two more over the next few months. But we won’t lose sight of the fact that our main objective of all of this is to persuade as many people as possible that heart disease can be prevented if positive changes are made in their daily lives.”
A team of 80 nurses were kept busy yesterday as a steady flow of shoppers stepped up for blood sugar level checks in The Dubai Mall’s Star Atrium, during the public holiday to celebrate Isra Wal Mairaj.
Benchmark Middle East, a Dubai-based independent healthcare communication agency, set up the One Heart Health Community to create a different approach to the task of raising awareness about heart-related illnesses, and ultimately save lives.
The campaign is initially focused on cardiovascular disease, the world’s biggest single killer, which accounted for a quarter of all deaths in the UAE in 2012.
The campaign will now be expanded to engage UAE residents online through Facebook, blogs, twitter and a new mobile phone application, ‘Break-Up’.
This new app helps individuals track changes in their lifestyle such as exercising at home and limiting junk food consumption. It is designed to motivate users, keep track of progress by family and friends’, and encourage them not to give up.
The One Heart Health Community has partnered with Merck Serono Middle and Near East, a recognised biotechnology and pharmaceutical chemistry leader and the world’s oldest pharmaceutical company, with more than 300 years’ experience. The company aims to partner with the health care communities to create greater awareness about health campaigns.