Posted on October 20, 2012

Your Health First, the nationwide public health awareness campaign launched in June by Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) in association with the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) and in strategic partnership with Qatar Petroleum, Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd. (Oxy Qatar), ExxonMobil and Vodafone Qatar, has welcomed the Supreme Education Council (SEC) in Qatar as a new strategic partner.

H.E. Saad Bin Ibrahim Al Mahmoud (pictured), Minister of Education and Higher Education and Secretary General of the Supreme Education Council, explained the role SEC will play in supporting the Your Health First campaign which aims to educate the various age groups in both the Qatari and expatriate communities.

“With the start of the new school year, we thought the Supreme Education Council should enter into a strategic partnership with the Your Health First campaign, especially because it focuses in its first stage on children and youth. We are here today to announce our full support to the organizers and partners of this initiative that promises to make schoolchildren and youth opt for healthy lifestyles,” H.E. Al Mahmoud said.

“SEC plays an integral educational and cultural role in schools, and we are keen to make health education part of extracurricular activities across Qatari schools by encouraging students to engage in physical activity and adopt healthy lifestyles. In return, we will reward them with certificates for their achievements and we will also support health contests. We will start by supporting a contest to be launched by Your Health First towards the end of this month with a focus on spreading health awareness among students,” His Excellency added.

“I encourage schools across the country to cooperate with the Your Health First initiative that aims to instill healthy lifestyle habits into students’ daily routine, helps prevent many chronic diseases and paves the road for a bright future for the next generation,” His Excellency concluded.

H.E. Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Qahtani, Minister of Public Health and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Health, applauded the partnership between Qatar’s Supreme Education Council and Your Health First campaign launched by Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar in association with the Supreme Council of Health (SCH). His Excellency stressed the importance of concerted and collaborative efforts by all ministries and concerned entities to ensure a well-rounded awareness campaign dedicated to educating future generations.

His Excellency also emphasized that SCH gives top priority to enhancing the health and wellbeing of Qatari and expatriate communities, pointing out that spreading health awareness among school children and youth would help achieve the campaign’s main goal of reaching all members of society.

“Building a health culture and promoting healthy lifestyles would contribute to achieving Qatar National Vision 2030 which relies on Qatari youth, and we would continue to exert our utmost efforts to enhance the health awareness of our children and youth so they can confidently look forward to a brighter future,” His Excellency said.

“We are thrilled to have the Supreme Education Council as a strategic partner to Your Health First initiative as this will help us spread awareness about healthy lifestyles among the different age groups of students, both Qataris and expatriates,” said Dr. Javaid I. Sheikh, Dean of WCMC-Q. “We are confident that through this partnership we will be able to help them achieve their goals and aspirations for a brighter future.

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“We believe that the roles of the Supreme Education Council and the Supreme Council of Health complement each other, as both are working hard to build a healthy and well-educated generation that realizes the vision of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Equally important, the complementary roles of SEC and SCH contribute to realizing the wise vision of His Highness The Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who are leading Qatar’s journey into a thriving, knowledge-based economy.”

Mr. Ali Nasser Telfat, Acting Director of the Office of the QP Chairman and Managing Director and Acting Manager for Public Relations and Communications of QP, said: “Qatar Petroleum is proud to support the Your Health First campaign, and the participation of the Supreme Education Council in this worthwhile initiative would undoubtedly make a big difference in further promoting the importance of a healthy lifestyle to a much wider audience.”

Mr. Stephen Kelly, President and General Manager of Oxy Qatar, said: “Oxy welcomes the Supreme Education Council as a strategic partner in the Your Health First campaign. We recognize the importance of promoting healthy lifestyles among young people, and we believe the partnership with the SEC will help to ensure that the program’s vital messages reach students in an effective way.”

Mr. Bart Cahir, President and General Manager of ExxonMobil Qatar, said: “No matter what field we are in – oil and gas, education, or communications – our organizations begin and end with people. The fact that the Supreme Education Council is joining the Ministries of Public Health and Energy & Industry along with the education and private sector for the betterment of this country’s residents speaks volumes as to the forward-thinking nature of Qatar’s leadership. On behalf of all of my colleagues at ExxonMobil, we are honored to be part of this initiative.”

Mr. John Saad, Vodafone’s Chief Marketing Officer, said: “Vodafone is delighted to be a partner in delivering the Your Health First program that will enhance the quality of life of everyone in Qatar.”

The Supreme Education Council will lend its full support to the contest Your Health First plans to run across a number of Qatari schools. The campaign team will visit participating schools to spread awareness about major health issues, stressing the importance of healthy nutrition and physical activity to avoid obesity and diabetes. Students will also be taught about the dangers of smoking, ways to manage stress, and measures to prevent road accidents.

Students will then be asked to present, within a specific deadline, posters in a specific area of their interest. They will be required to choose catchy titles for their posters and use supporting images, graphs and tables. A panel of judges, formed by Your Health First, will visit participating schools to assess student entries using certain criteria, including creativity, originality, novelty and cohesiveness. Finalist teams will automatically be entered into the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, which involves interschool sports competitions, with the winner crowned as the champion of them all.

Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health will play a pivotal role, along with the Ministry of Education, WCMC-Q and its strategic partners Qatar Petroleum, Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd., ExxonMobil Qatar and Vodafone Qatar, in supporting the campaign and spreading health awareness throughout the community for a better future for the generations to come.

Your Health First aims to educate both the Qatari and expatriate communities so that they can make informed, healthy, lifestyle choices. It is a five-year multi-stage awareness campaign, the first stage of which ends in December 2012. During this time, the focus will be on health information and preventive measures; simplified medical terms will be used to ensure that the public will make use of the information provided. The first phase of the campaign covers a wide range of topics including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, psychological health, women and children’s healthcare, bone health and rheumatoid arthritis, stress and insomnia, benefits of vitamins, cancer, and healthy eating habits amongst children, teens and adults.

WCMC-Q produced an awareness program aired on Qatar Television during the holy month of Ramadan, as well as daily health tips via Qatar Radio. Both shed light on the most pressing health issues and the importance of prevention.

Qatar will witness a range of related awareness events targeting different age groups, with a focus on children and teens. These will include the Painting a Healthy Future initiative, which aims to attract people of different ages to participate in creating a collective health-related painting that will, hopefully, break a world record and enter the Guinness Book of World Records. Details of other events and activities will be announced later.