Thursday 27 April 2017, 10:29

SC partners with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar to improve workers’ nutrition

  • Pilot programme will see clinical professionals assess nutrition of workers, address latent health issues and offer dietary enhancements

  • Initiative will initially be aimed at 1,000 workers on SC projects

  • Project will conclude with the release of a detailed report summarising the outcomes, impact and key findings of the programme and make recommendations for future intervention

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the organisation responsible for delivering the infrastructure required for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, has entered into a partnership agreement with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) that will see the renowned medical research institution assess the health of workers on World Cup construction projects, reports

Working with workers, contractors and catering supply companies to improve workers’ nutrition, the research and training pilot programme, which started in February, will see a team of clinical researchers from WCM-Q examine workers’ health, diets, and general awareness of the importance of nutrition. The researchers will also evaluate current nutritional intake and identify prevalent health challenges among workers which improved diets may help to resolve.

The pilot programme, which will initially target a random sample of 1,000 workers on SC projects, will be broken down into the following stages:

Phase 1 – Health Checks & Reporting: WCM-Q to carry out health checks of 1,000 workers to determine prevalence of health related issues; including but not limited to: hypertension (high blood pressure); blood glucose; kidney function, hydration status, body measurements, grip strength and respiratory parameters. The key research findings will be compiled into a report outlining the recommendations for phases 2 & 3.

Phase 2 – Awareness & Training Campaign (workers, contractors & caterers): WCM-Q to educate the sample of 1,000 workers on the benefits of healthy lifestyles and balanced diets, and key stakeholders on the need to provide nutritious food options for workers. Access to dieticians and nutritionists will be provided.

Phase 3 – Catering Enhancement & Reporting: WCM-Q to work collaboratively with contractors and catering suppliers to recommend nutritional food options for the sample of 1,000 workers via revised food options within their worksites and accommodation.

The project will conclude with the release of a detailed report summarising the outcomes, impact and key findings of the programme and make recommendations for future intervention.

The research team from WCM-Q will be led by Dr. Shahrad Taheri, Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Investigations, and Dr. Odette Chagoury, Associate Director of Clinical Research. Dr. Taheri and Dr. Chagoury both have a wealth of experience in clinical trials and large scale population studies assessing the effectiveness of health and nutrition interventions.

Dr. Taheri said: “Nutrition plays a vital role in an individual’s health and even small changes to diet can make a huge difference to overall wellbeing. The impact of this initiative, both on the short and long-term health of workers associated with SC construction projects, could be huge, particularly if, as we hope, the findings are taken on board by other companies and international businesses operating in Qatar.”

This agreement is the latest addition to the SC’s workers’ welfare programme, which seeks to ensure the health, safety and dignity of everyone on SC construction projects in Qatar.

Hassan Al Thawadi, SC Secretary General, welcomed the new initiative, saying: “Weill Cornell is a household name in medicine and we are delighted to partner with them on such an important programme. Nutrition is a vital component of any healthy lifestyle and we’re hoping that through this new programme we can uncover any prevalent or latent health concerns among our workers, address any issues that come to light and work collaboratively with our entire supply chain to make sure we improve our workers’ health and enable our contractors to offer balanced and nutritious options for workers."

The SC currently has eight construction sites underway across Qatar and just over 10,000 workers on-site at any given time.