The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) recently organised two training workshops on the new growth plans prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) for school students aged between 5 to 19 years old in Qatar.
The workshops, held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE), the Hamad Medical Corp (HMC), and the Primary Health Care Corp (PHCC), were attended by 40 new school nursing staff and program supervisors from the MoPH and the PHCC.
Head of the Noncommunicable Disease Section at the MoPH Dr. Kholood Ateeq Al Mutawa said that the adoption and implementation of the WHO new growth plans is an implementation of the National Action Plan for Nutrition and Physical Activity in the State of Qatar (2017-2022), which aims to reduce the burden of obesity and the associated chronic non-communicable diseases in Qatar such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
She said that the program contributes to promoting health and noncommunicable diseases, activating the Qatar National Vision 2030 for human development, and promoting the health of the entire Qatari society to build a new healthy generation.
She added that the program represents an important step towards realizing the right of every child to grow and enjoy good health based on scientific evidence from different countries of the world, pointing out that the main determinants of growth inequality have been environmental factors, which means that these charts can also be used to assess compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Al Mutawa noted that this program has been applied to all schools in Qatar, adding that the aim of these programs is to provide a database and build a monitoring system for the growth of students of private and government schools, boys and girls, in the three grades, as well as early detection of developmental disorders that may be related to nutrition, including underweight, short stature and dwarfism on the one hand or overweight and obesity on the other hand, and referring such cases to their PHCC centers for follow-up and treatment.
General supervisor of the new growth schemes program Azza Ahmed said that the implementation of the program for schoolchildren, weight and height measurements and the calculation of the body mass index (BMI), were among the most important preventive and curative services provided to students, as they were important for the early detection and diagnosis of malnutrition.
She further affirmed that students health files are completed and monitored, and that their health status is recorded using growth charts to evaluate the student's growth within their schools.
She added that the workshops provided training for school nurses in the State of Qatar on how to use the WHO-approved weight and height devices for taking students measurements and record them on the new WHO growth forms, and on how to use the growth problems management protocol for the early detection and follow-up of malnutrition cases among students, and to keep growth forms within the students health profiles in the school health clinic to achieve the program objectives.
The analysis of the results of the previous new growth monitoring charts showed that a large proportion of students were overweight and obese.